Ash Wednesday is the first day of Lent and occurs 46 days before Easter. It falls on a different date each year because it is dependent on the date of Easter.

In the Western tradition of the Church, Easter has been celebrated on the first Sunday following the new full moon which occurs on or immediately after the vernal or spring equinox. This dating was established by the Council of Nicea in 325 A.D. As such, the dates for Easter may range from March 22 to April 25. (The Orthodox Churches follow a different dating system and will thereby celebrate Easter one, four, or five weeks later.)

Lent is in effect the retreat time in preparation for the Easter Triduum - the three days of the celebration of Easter which begins with sundown on Holy Thursday evening and ends with evening prayer on Easter Sunday evening. The Triduum includes the liturgies of Holy Thursday, Good Friday, the Easter Vigil, and Easter Sunday.

On Good Friday and, if possible, also on Holy Saturday until the Easter Vigil, the Easter Fast is observed.

Acknowledgements
Photo by F Wilkinson

Reviewed
14 October 2019

Back to top