If you're putting your annual calendar of events together, you'll want to circle February 17. It's Ash Wednesday and it's the start of the Lenten season. For El Pasoans, Lent is a big deal because we are a predominantly Catholic town, and yes, I know, the Christmas holidays just wrapped up and we're barely into the New Year. Heck, we haven't even rushed around like crazy people trying to get the perfect gift for the relationship holy day of obligation, Valentine's Day. But we only have two weeks to party, as best as you can with COVID-19 restrictions, before the Lenten season begins.

Dmitriy Shironosov

Clearly we are not suggesting that you party like the people in this pre-COVID stock photo. If you're going to have some fun this pre-Lenten season, please do it responsibly and wear a mask, wash your hands, and maintain social distance.

We party up until Ash Wednesday culminating with the big blowout, Fat Tuesday. Why do we do that? Traditionally on that day, Catholics are supposed to use up all their 'decadent' food so that they won't be around to tempt you during the fasting and abstinence of Lent.

Delicious, fresh and sweet seasonal pastry background

Beginning Ash Wednesday, Catholics are supposed to reflect and pray on the sacrifice of Christ for humanity. Who is supposed to fast? Well, generally Catholics age 14 years old and up. You can get a refresher on who is supposed to fast and what fasting means by clicking here.

In case you're wondering why Ash Wednesday and Easter Sunday are always on different dates, it's because it is determined not by the calendar, but by the phases of the moon. A little pagan-y for a Christian celebration, for sure, but that's the reason why it always changes.

Easter Sunday is April 4, so mark your calendar.

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