This year, Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent, falls on February 10th. Lent is celebrated in the Christian religion as a 40-day period of fasting (not including Sundays) in preparation for Holy Week and Easter, the Christian holiday that commemorates the resurrection of Jesus. For the duration of Lent, which requires fasting on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday, as well as not eating meat on Fridays, many Christians make personal vows of abstinence, doing more for others, and spending more time in prayer and reflection (Huffington Post).
The central ritual of Ash Wednesday, the placing of ashes (usually derived from burning the blessed palm branches left from the last Palm Sunday celebration) in the shape of a cross on the forehead, continues in the Roman Catholic Church. Although Anglican, Lutheran and some Protestant churches usually do not include this ritual, a special worship service is still held on Ash Wednesday (ReligionFacts). This week, we have mapped the percentage of Catholics in country populations across the globe. Look at our map to see which countries have the highest percentage of Catholics that will be celebrating the Christian religious holiday.
Written by: Kathleen Emerson (2/9/16)