Ash Wednesday & Lent

I apologize before hand if this has been discussed to death, but I was not able to find in in search and was not sure if this was the right category to put it in.

2 Questions

  1. Ash Wednesday, Are there rules to who can receive the ashes on this day? Like the Eucharist can’t be received till after confirmation and first communion, what are the rules of Ash Wednesday.

  2. Lent Fasting. What and When do we fast. Again What are the rules.

Thank You so much all in advance

any one can receive ashes, it is a sacramental, not a sacrament

the rules for fast and abstinence will be published in each diocese before lent.
basic in US Ash Wed and good Fri are days of fast and abstinence. Fridays in Lent are days of abstinence. Fasting means one regular meal, two small meals that together do not equal a normal meal. Abstinence means no meat of warm-blooded animals. condiments such as gravy or broth made from meat are allowed. Those are rules for Latin Rite Catholics in the US, other rites and other countries may vary.

Lent is a penitential season calling for prayer, fast and alms giving. Other than these minor disciplines, how you carry that out is up to you. you can be content with the bare minimum or go further.

you can either spend the time between now and lent quibbling and bargaining about what is allowed and what is not, or you can you use it to prepare yourself physically and mentally and spiritually. choice is yours.

very concise, thanks:)

Quick question, when was the meat restriction limited to warm blooded animals? Historically, the limitation was that no animal flesh may be eaten except fish. In some cases, what exactly constituted a fish has been debated with at least one or two aquatic mammels being classified as fish for the purposes of the Abstinence.


Yes, I love that–I got my throat blessed yesterday! A good idea in the weather we’re having here in northern Indiana!


How many cold-blooded animals ARE there that people normally eat? Can’t think of too many.

Addition to Annie’s post:

Those who are past their 59th birthday (and presumably those who are ill) are exempt from fasting, as are those below 14.

My age gives me an out, but physically speaking there’s no reason why I shouldn’t fast those two days.


fish, amphibians (frog legs), crustaceans (crab legs, lobster), reptiles (snakes and alligator), mollusks (clams, oysters, mussels)

Turtles are good, too.

I know this one!

The Latin word for flesh or meat (carnis) actually has the added connotation of “the meat of a land animal”. That’s why aquatic animals, including fish and various other critters (including some aquatic mammals, like capybara, beavers, and otters) are regarded as not constituting meat.

I think eggs are basically an act of mercy. (Unless it’s the unfertilized status of the egg that makes the difference.)

Never tried them, but they sound good, as I have tried and like all the other foods I listed. Turtles also qualify as a cold-blooded animal, so one could eat them on abstinence days.

Capybara, beaver, otter and muskrat are warm-blooded, so one cannot eat them on abstinence days. I know my warm-blooded animals, since I have a B.S. in biology.

The abstinence should be carried out from Ash Wednesday till Easter right? Fasting on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday, if possible Holy Saturday (optional)?

A friend told me that we are only required to do abstinence on Friday during Lent. Is there any official teaching regarding this issue? Thanks

Abstinence is required only on Ash Wednesday and all the Fridays of Lent. If you would like to abstain every day, you may certainly do so.

This is the rule for the United States. You may need to consult someone local for Singapore.


My mistake, because I’ve been so used to it that I didn’t realise the rule. I believe it’s the same, I just check Canon Law 1249-1252.

Thanks for the reply, I’ll double check again with the priest this weekend.

I am not joking but my understanding is that muskrat has been exempted from the list. I do not know if all over the USA or only in a few dioceses. I heard of that story long time ago on the radio. I will check on the web and get back to the forum.

Quick question; Is Ash Wednesday a Holy Day of Obligation?

No, and neither is Good Friday.

Quick answer: nope. :wink:

As a bit of historical trivia, muskrat is approved for consumption during Lent in the Archdiocese of Detroit.

It dates back to the days of the Jesuit missionaries to the local tribes. Their word for ‘fish’ also included aquatic mammals.

In a concession to aid in conversions, the Jesuits requested a dispensation from the Bishop in Montreal.

The dispensation was renewed as particular law when Detroit became it’s own dicoese and still remains.

Up through the turn of the century, it was somewhat of a tradition in Detroit to have muskrat during Lent. I know of one butcher shop that still caries it during Lent, but the custom is all but disappeared.

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