On Ash Wednesday, you might encounter a Christian or a Catholic wearing a smudge of ashes on their forehead.

Maybe you are a practicing Christian and are fasting this Ash Wednesday, and you are wondering what you can and cannot eat on the first day of Lent.

Here is what you need to know about this first day of Lent in most Christian denominations and the rules of fasting.

Ash Wednesday, in the Christian church, is the beginning of the Lenten season. It takes place six and a half weeks before Easter Sunday.

It is observed with a service where the faithful are marked with ashes. Many adults fast, or at least abstain from eating meat.

It is not a holy day of obligation, but it is one of the most attended services that do not fall on a Sunday during the liturgical year.

Catholics and some protestants, including Anglicans and Lutherans, also hold Ash Wednesday services.

Eastern Orthodox churches do not follow this schedule because they begin Lent on a Monday, and therefore do not observe Ash…

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