Ash Wednesday around the world in 2025

Ash Wednesday around the world in 2025
Crosses made for the previous year's Palm Sunday are traditionally burnt to create the ash for Ash Wednesday.
  How long until Ash Wednesday?
Ash Wednesday
  Dates of Ash Wednesday around the world
2025 Various Mar 5
BrazilWed, Mar 5National Holiday
Cayman IslandsWed, Mar 5National Holiday
East TimorWed, Mar 5Government Holiday
French GuianaWed, Mar 5National Holiday
GuadeloupeWed, Mar 5National Holiday
HaitiWed, Mar 5National Holiday
JamaicaWed, Mar 5National Holiday
PanamaWed, Mar 5National Holiday
2024 Various Feb 14
BrazilWed, Feb 14National Holiday
Cayman IslandsWed, Feb 14National Holiday
East TimorWed, Feb 14Government Holiday
French GuianaWed, Feb 14National Holiday
GuadeloupeWed, Feb 14National Holiday
HaitiWed, Feb 14National Holiday
JamaicaWed, Feb 14National Holiday
PanamaWed, Feb 14National Holiday
2023 Various Feb 22
BrazilWed, Feb 22National Holiday
Cayman IslandsWed, Feb 22National Holiday
East TimorWed, Feb 22Government Holiday
French GuianaWed, Feb 22National Holiday
GuadeloupeWed, Feb 22National Holiday
HaitiWed, Feb 22National Holiday
JamaicaWed, Feb 22National Holiday
PanamaWed, Feb 22National Holiday
2022 Various Mar 2
Cayman IslandsWed, Mar 2National Holiday
East TimorWed, Mar 2Government Holiday
French GuianaWed, Mar 2National Holiday
GuadeloupeWed, Mar 2National Holiday
HaitiWed, Mar 2National Holiday
JamaicaWed, Mar 2National Holiday
PanamaWed, Mar 2National Holiday
2021 Various Feb 17
BrazilWed, Feb 17National Holiday
Cayman IslandsWed, Feb 17National Holiday
East TimorWed, Feb 17Government Holiday
French GuianaWed, Feb 17National Holiday
GuadeloupeWed, Feb 17National Holiday
HaitiWed, Feb 17National Holiday
JamaicaWed, Feb 17National Holiday
PanamaWed, Feb 17National Holiday

Marks the beginning of lent. Marking the forehead with ash represents regret for past sins.

  Which countries observe Ash Wednesday in 2025?
National Holiday Regional Holiday Not a public holiday Govt Holiday
Related holidays

When is Ash Wednesday?

Ash Wednesday marks the start of Lent in the Western church and takes place 46 days before Easter. As the date of Easter is calculated on the cycles of the moon, the date of Ash Wednesday will vary from year to year. The earliest possible date for Ash Wednesday is 4 February and the latest day is March 10.

Ash Wednesday is observed mainly by the Roman Catholic Church and also by some Protestant denominations such as Methodists, Episcopalians, Presbyterians and Lutherans.

It takes places immediately after the excesses of the two days of Carnival that take place in Northern Europe and parts of Latin America and the Caribbean.

What is Ash Wednesday?

The name of the day comes from the custom that churchgoers are marked on the forehead with a cross of ash to symbolise death and regret for past sins. The priest will accompany the marking with a recital of Genesis 3:19 - "Remember that you are dust, and to dust, you shall return". The tradition of marking with ashes began in the early church as a way for persistent sinners to outwardly show their desire for repentance. By the end of the 10th century, the custom had spread to all the faithful.

Traditionally the ashes are created from burning the palms used in the church on Palm Sunday the previous year. Palm Sunday marked the arrival of Jesus into Jerusalem after his 40 days and nights in the desert.

During the 40 days before Easter, Roman Catholics are supposed to abstain from all bodily pleasures, including the consumption of meat. This is intended to remember the fasting of Jesus, who spent 40 days in the desert before beginning his ministry. In the Catholic Church, Lent gets off to an appropriate start with Ash Wednesday as it is a day of fasting, abstinence from meat and repentance.

Did you know?

In Ireland, National No Smoking Day takes place on Ash Wednesday as the start of Lent is seen as opportune to encourage people to give up a luxury such as smoking.

The Length of Lent

Why is Ash Wednesday 46 days before Easter Sunday, when Lent is said to last 40 days?

Lent is longer than the 40 days as Sunday was seen as a special feast day to commemorate the resurrection of Jesus on Easter Sunday, so it is excluded from the calculation of Lent. Lent is the Monday to Saturday in the six weeks before Easter Sunday (6 days x 6 weeks = 36 days) and adding the Wednesday to Saturday in the week before brings us to the 40 days.

The Orthodox Christian church has no tradition of ashes and Holy Week (the week before Easter) is excluded from the calculation of Lent, though Sundays are included. This all means that Lent begins instead on Orthodox Shrove Monday. Also known as Clean Monday, this is two days before Ash Wednesday.

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