Marking the first day of Lent, Ash Wednesday falls on 2 March in 2022 as we look at what age you need to be to take part in fasting.
Although devout Catholics and Christians may choose to give up an indulgence for Lent and abstain from meat on Ash Wednesday, many also choose to fast.
Those over 14 years old typically refrain from eating chicken, beef and other meat, but what is the age range of people who are able to fast? Let’s take a look.
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What is Ash Wednesday?
Ash Wednesday falls 46 days before Easter Sunday and is observed by Catholics and Christians.
The day (this year it falls on 2 March 2022) signals the first day of Lent, where those who take part typically give up an item or habit for 40 days.
The term Ash Wednesday derives from Christian traditions, with sinners sprinkled with ash and dressed in sackcloth. Now, however, observers often paint a cross on their foreheads with ash from palm leaves burned on Palm Sunday.
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What’s the age range of people who can fast?
According to the Catholic law of abstinence, those observing abstain from meat on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday throughout Lent, if they’re over the age of 14. Many also choose to fast.
As per The Catholic Spirit, those in the 18 to 59 age bracket should fast on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday, unless medical problems prevent them from doing so. This means you can eat only one full meatless meal, plus two other small meatless dishes that must not equate to a ‘full’ meal.
Those fasting must not eat between meals.
Fasting and abstaining from meat, including beef, chicken and pork, serves as a ‘sacrifice’ for the time Jesus spent praying and resisting.
What can you eat on Ash Wednesday if you’re fasting?
As mentioned, if you’re observing Ash Wednesday, you’re able to eat one full meal that must not contain meat. Forklift and Palate suggests opting for salmon, pasta, ratatouille, or fish and chips as a meat alternative.
Likewise, you’re still able to consume eggs, milk, fish, grain, and fruit and vegetables.