Hello, your friendly neighborhood Mormon here to ask about Ash Wednesday.
Nope, we don’t do Ash Wednesday, nor do we do Lent. So needless to say we are easily confused when we see people with ash smudges walking around Target. Cody thought it was a joke he wasn’t in on, I was oblivious and my friend PolkaDots thought her friend had print toner smudged on her forehead and tried to wipe it off.
So (please correct me if I’m wrong) Ash Wednesday is the first day of Lent, the 40 days until Easter that represent the time Jesus spent in the desert, where, according to the Bible, he endured the temptation of Satan. Wearing smudges of burnt palm leaves on one’s forehead is an ancient ritual that marks the beginning of the Lenten season on (the name is all making sense now) Ash Wednesday.
So that’s good to know. And kind of (not to sound condescending) neat.
You see, growing up in Utah there weren’t a whole lot of Catholics, Episcopalians and Methodists milling about (at least that I knew about). Another thing someone who doesn’t hang with a big Lent observing crowd should know is that a lot of restaurants change their menus during Lent. I’ve noticed that Wendy’s now has a fish sandwich, Taco Bell has a “Lent friendly” menu and apparently Chipotle “puts the burrito back in Lent.”
Things I would have never understood until moving here. I don’t remember ever seeing “Lent friendly burritos” in Utah. But caffeine free Mountain Dew? Only in Utah baby, only in Utah.
So to all my Lent observing peeps, do you not eat any meat (excluding fish) during Lent? What about eggs and stuff? Anything else I should know?
And does anyone else have any “I didn’t know about Ash Wednesday and tried to wipe someone’s smudges off” stories? PolkaDots was pretty embarrassed and would appreciate any commiseration.
Have I offended anyone? I sure hope not, because that is so not my thing.