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Ash Wednesday fasting: What you should know

Meagan Morris is an entertainment and lifestyle journalist living in New York City. In addition to SheKnows, Morris contributes to many publications including The New York Times, Yahoo! News, PopEater, NBC New York and Spinner. Follow he...

Ash Wednesday fasting tips

Today is Ash Wednesday -- otherwise known as the start of Lent. Unfamiliar with the day? Read on to learn more.

Ash Wednesday fasting before lent

Did you get all of the gluttony out of your system on Fat Tuesday? Hope so, because today it's all about Ash Wednesday fasting if you're Catholic. Ash Wednesday marks the start of Lent – or 40 days before Easter.

Not familiar with Ash Wednesday fasting rules? We've got you covered:

  • You cannot eat meat on Ash Wednesday. Catholic Canon law says that people older than 14 cannot eat meat on Fridays during Lent.
  • Ash Wednesday fasting doesn't mean you have to abstain from eating altogether though – you should just eat two smaller meals or one meal.

Catholics also go to church on Ash Wednesday to get an ash mark on their foreheads. The ash serves as a reminder that we are mortal and will eventually return to the Earth.

Many Catholics will opt to attend Mass tonight to mark Ash Wednesday and the start of Lent. However, it's not required.

Many Catholics also opt to give up one of their vices for Lent. Some choose cigarettes, others soda or candy. The idea is to sacrifice something like Jesus Christ sacrificed his life.

Have you given up anything for lent? What are you avoiding for the next 40 days?

More on Lent

Seafood and vegetarian recipes for Lent
The serious side of Easter
How to plan an Easter dinner

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