Today is Ash Wednesday, churches and cathedrals will change their altar frontals to purple for the start of lent. Some cathedrals will also cover the reredos, the screen behind the altar for the duration of Lent. The colour of altar frontals changes for each season of the Church’s year. Purple is for Advent and Lent, red for Holy Week and Pentecost and days when we remember the martyrs of he church. White or gold is for the celebratory seasons such as Christmas, Epiphany and Easter. Green is used for ‘Ordinary ‘time.
Lent, is the season of the Church’s year leading up to Easter, a time of confession and penitence, fasting, prayer, study and drawing closer to God in preparation for the great celebration of Christ’s resurrection. The season of Lent began in the early days of the Church as a time of preparation for those seeking to be baptised at the Easter Vigil. The forty days of Lent refer to our Lord’s time of fasting in the wilderness; and since Sundays are not counted as they are always feast days because every Sunday we celebrate Christ’s resurrection, Ash Wednesday is the beginning of the Lent. Many Christians will receive a cross of ash on their forehead today as a symbol of repentance at a special service today. Throughout the Old Testament ashes are a sign of sorrow and repentance.
Visit St Mary Magdalene Church Paddington on my Best Churches in London tour #TourLocal