Open Market
Search the Market
Buy Direct Directory
Bulletin Board


Craft Supplies

Kitchen Supply
Market Supply

Lease a Booth
Energy Farming
Farm Produce

Farm Supply
Gift Shop
Home & Garden
Nuts and Grains

Pet Supply
Specialty Foods

Book Search
Farmer's Market Online

Ash Wednesday

Shrove Tuesday ~ Lent ~ Ashes ~ Clean Monday ~ Meat Abstinence
Ash Wednesday celebration in Notre Dame de Paris cathedral, Paris, France

Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of the penitential season Lent, which is calculated in the Christian liturgical cycle to start 40 days before the great feast of Easter

Sundays are not counted among the 40 days.

In the year 325 A.D., 
the Council of Nicea established the date of 
Easter as the Sunday following the first full moon after the venral equinox.

Since Easter will be celebrated April 16 in 2017, Ash Wednesday is consequently set for March 1.

Clean Monday

Eastern Orthodox churches do not observe Ash Wednesday, but instead mark the beginning of Lent with Clean Monday.

During Lent, these churches generally avoid animal foods, such as meat, dairy products, eggs, and fish (though not shellfish). Most days during Lent, olive oil and alcohol are also avoided.


According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, Lent is "the 40-day liturgical season of fasting, special prayer and almsgiving in preparation for Easter."

What foods are eaten or avoided during Lent varies according to a worshipper's beliefs.

Some give up a personal pleasure such as chocolate or coffee for Lent. Some fast by eating fewer or smaller meals than usual. Often, meat is avoided on certain days such as Ash Wednesday and Fridays. 

Shrove Tuesday

Shrove Tuesday is the day before Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent and the start of some form of fasting in many religions.

Also known as Mardi Gras or Pancake Day, this feasting day traditionally helped use up rich foodstuffs such as eggs, milk, and sugar, before the fasting season began.

"It was said that the world turned upside down on this day, and inferiors were openly allowed to mock their superiors, albeit masked, in rituals of subversion," writes Ken Abala in Food and Faith in Christian Culture.

"Thus there were mock weddings, mock trials, and the lowest person might be crowned king for the day. Rather than pose a threat to the structure of society,  it has been suggested that this one day of ritual subversion actually strengthened the social order as a sort of safety valve - allowing people to blow off steam and then return to their stations the rest of the year."

Meat Abstinence

During the Middle Ages, meat was the most desired of foods. What better way to make an alimentary penance during Lent than to abstain from this pleasure?

As food historian Massimo Montari explains, "The diet required by the liturgical calendar during Lent could nonetheless be delicious. Choice fish and delicate vegetables could easily replace meat on the determined days."

1933 Campbell's Soup Ad Promoting Soups the Lenten Diet
1933 Campbell's Soup Ad Promoting Soups for the Lenten Diet

Pierre Abelard, a 12th century philosopher, once asked why it should be penitent to give upordinary meat only to have expensive fish.

"The point is that it was a substitution," Montari points out in Let The Meatballs Rest. "The consumption of fish was not dictated by a choice of taste, but rather by an obligation, a restriction, an imposed renunciation."

Consequently, he suggests, meats attained a higher social standing in the Western diet than fish or vegetables -- a bias that continues to this day -- because it was forbidden during Lent.


To mark Ash Wednesday as the beginning of Lent, many Catholics and Protestants have the sign of the cross placed on their foreheads. Ashes are an outward expression of penitence and renewal of faith.

For some, the ashes are an outward sign of humility and reminder of Genesis 3:13 that states “By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread until you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”

On the
dies cinerum (day of ashes) in the Catholic Church, faithful followers approach the altar and receive ashes upon their foreheads.
These ashes are traditionally made from the burnt palm fronds that were blessed on the Palm Sunday of the previous year. The ashes are sprinkled with holy water, usually fragranced with incense and blessed.

Advertise Here

Ash Wednesday movie poster
Ash Wednesday
movie poster

Ash Wednesday by Carl Spitzweg

Personalized Christmas Stockings
Personalized Christmas Stockings

Cascade Wreath

Evergreen Ornament
Christmas Ornaments

The Gift Shop

 Farmer's Market Online.
Copyright © 2016 Outrider. All rights reserved
Established in 1995