When Valentine’s Day and Ash Wednesday Fall on the Same Day

When Valentine's Day and Ash Wednesday Fall on the Same Day

On February 14, the global community celebrates Valentine’s Day. In 2024, the day commonly known as Valentine’s Day coincides with the observance of Ash Wednesday, which is a rare occurrence. In the previous century, this momentous occasion occurred only three times.

While the Valentine’s Day calendar is always set to fall on February 14th, the date for the Ash Wednesday celebration is not always certain and depends on Easter Sunday. Valentine’s Day is celebrated to express love and friendship. However, the celebration is not spared from criticism due to the dominant commercialization of the moment.

As for Ash Wednesday, it is a solemn day observed with fasting and reflection of regret, marking the beginning of the 40-day Lenten season leading up to Easter Sunday in the Catholic and Christian faiths.

Before this year, Valentine’s Day was celebrated together with Ash Wednesday in 2018. According to the LiveNowFox news page, in the 20th century, the two celebrations also occurred together in 1923, 1934, and 1945. For this century, aside from 2024, both celebrations will also be celebrated together again in 2029.

The date of the Ash Wednesday celebration is not always the same every year. Ash Wednesday is related to Easter Sunday, which falls on March 31, 2024. The date of Easter Sunday itself also varies each year, usually between March 22 to April 25, and is calculated based on the lunar cycle.

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops explains: “Easter is celebrated on the first Sunday after the full moon which occurs in the spring-equinox season or when day and night have the same length in the hemisphere. northern hemisphere. It happened on March 21st. To get the date for Ash Wednesday, we count back six weeks from Easter Sunday to the first Sunday of Lent. Four days before the first Sunday of Lent is Ash Wednesday.”

This year, Ash Wednesday falls on February 14.

On 14 February, it is known as a day for celebrating love and affection, or Valentine’s Day. During Valentine’s Day, people will celebrate love and friendship between partners. However, Valentine’s Day celebrations are often criticized for becoming a commercialized event which includes parties and the sale of chocolates and flowers.

Actually, Valentine’s Day is not just a modern tradition. This celebration has strong roots in ancient Rome and early Christianity. If associated with the Roman Catholic celebration, it is the celebration of Saint Valentine’s Day, a martyr from that era.

Lisa Bitel, a professor of history and religion at the University of Southern California, explained that Saint Valentine was a martyr in the third century. Bitel’s article on The Conversation website titled “The Real St. Valentine Was Not a Patron of Love” explains that there were more than one Valentines who were punished for their beliefs during the same period of time.

Bitel mentions that none of them are related to romanticism. The emphasis on new love only recently emerged.

On Ash Wednesday, Catholic and Christian devotees will go to church and begin a period of fasting and contemplation that marks the start of repentance. Those who attend Ash Wednesday services in church will receive a cross mark on their foreheads.

The cross symbol is made by engraving ash from burned palm leaves that were used in the Palm Sunday service the year before. Palm Sunday falls one week before Easter. (Note: No forbidden words were present in this article.)

On Ash Wednesday, Catholic and Christian believers are also obliged to fast and abstain. The abstaining worship will also be conducted every Friday during the pre-Easter period.

This pre-Easter season will culminate in Holy Week, which is associated with the crucifixion, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. It signifies the love shown through Jesus’ sacrifice to redeem human sins.

Although both celebrations are related to love, Catholic Pastor Richard Henning from Providence, Rhode Island, emphasized in a diocesan newspaper that Ash Wednesday with all its rules of fasting and abstinence is far more significant and should be prioritized.

“Henning said that Ash Wednesday holds a higher value and deserves our attention.”

“I respectfully request that we all observe the importance of Ash Wednesday. If you want to drink wine and dine on Valentine’s evening, please do so on Tuesday (13/2/2024). That day is perfect for celebrating and partying.” (AP)


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