Ash Wednesday ~ Miércoles de Ceniza

Published 2nd March 2017
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Forty days before the start of Easter, Ash Wednesday takes place. This day is the beginning of forty days of fasting for Catholics. Ash Wednesday commemorates the moment when Christ went away to the desert for forty days to meditate about his mission in fast and prayer enduring the temptation of Satan. It is called like this because during the mass ashes are used to symbolically purify parishioners. Ashes are obtained from burning the branches of Palm Sunday from the previous year. Ashes represent the destruction of mistakes from the previous year as this are burnt.

In Spain and in some countries in Latin America such as Colombia, Panama and Venezuela, the burial of the Sardine is recreated. It is a popular parody where the representation of a sardine is burnt. The burial or cremation symbolises the end of excesses and bad habits, manifested during Carnival.  Traditionally, the celebration begins with a penitential procession. This usually starts somewhere near the church of the town. After that, a mass is celebrated and at end of it, the ashes are placed on the heads of participants. The ash is accompanied with the words “Repent, and believe in the Gospel” or “Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return”.



Cuarenta días antes de comenzar la semana santa tiene lugar el miércoles de ceniza, éste supone el inicio de cuarenta días de ayuno para los fieles católicos. El Miércoles de Ceniza conmemora el momento en que Cristo se retiró al desierto por 40 días para meditar sobre su misión en ayuno y oración, resistiéndose a las tentaciones de Satanás. A este se le denomina así porque en misa se usa este material para purificar simbólicamente a los fieles. La ceniza se obtiene de quemar los ramos de flores secas provenientes del día de Domingo de Ramos de la Semana Santa del año anterior. La ceniza representa la destrucción de los errores del año anterior, al ser éstos quemados.

En España y en varios lugares de Iberoamérica como Colombia, Panamá y Venezuela se recrea El entierro de la Sardina. Es una parodia popular donde se quema una representación de Sardina. El entierro o quema simboliza el fin de los excesos y los vicios, manifestados durante el Carnaval. Tradicionalmente la celebración se inicia con una procesión penitencial, que por lo general tiene como punto de partida algún lugar próximo a la iglesia de la localidad. Luego se celebra la Misa y al culminar se imponen las cenizas en la frente de los asistentes acompañadas de las palabras “Acuérdate de que eres polvo y al polvo volverás”

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