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Kids ask: What’s Ash Wednesday?   Leave a comment

Ash Wednesday….You might hear some of these questions over the next day or two:

“Mommy, what is Ash Wednesday”?  Or ” Daddy, where do the ashes come from and why do they put them on my forehead”?

Those are all good questions and if you have little ones in your household, the following answers might come in handy!

Ash Wednesday marks the first day of Lent celebrated by Christians (especially Catholics) worldwide. Lent is a season of spiritual discipline, cleansing, and fasting. This ritual is blessed with a passage from the Bible Genesis 3:19: “for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.” The ashes symbolize repentance and purification. On Ash Wednesday, a priest or pastor marks a cross on the forehead of church members. The ashes are obtained from the burned palms used in the previous year’s Palm Sunday celebration.

If your family observes religious holidays, include your children in the family’s observation of this first day of Lent. Teachers at Christian and parochial schools can use these ideas for their classroom activities on Ash Wednesday. Here’s how to observe Ash Wednesday for Children.

1. Take the children to an Ash Wednesday Mass or service. Ahead of time, explain to them about the tradition of receiving ashes on one’s forehead. Children may receive ashes along with the adults at the proper time.
2. Lead children in a craft or coloring activity with a an Ash Wednesday theme. Use printable coloring sheets with Lenten symbols, or have them draw their interpretation of the Ash Wednesday observance.
3. Encourage children to “give up” something for Lent. Ideas include TV time, candy, or dessert.
4. Help children choose a virtue to work on during Lent. They can practice charity by not fighting with siblings and classmates, obedience by not talking back to their parents, and honesty by telling the truth.
Contribution from University of Kansas Medical Center Diversity Calendar