Hollywood, MD—This Valentine’s Day, you may be sitting with your loved one at a romantic candlelit dinner. Love is in the air, delicious food is on your plate, but something different may be in your view. You and your partner might have ash spread on your foreheads. When Easter rolls around, Easter baskets might be filled with whoopee cushions instead of chocolate. This year, the holidays are actually holy days.

Ash Wednesday falls on Valentine’s Day and Easter falls on April Fools’ Day. The Gregorian calendar decided to play a fun little prank on us all. Ash Wednesday is the beginning of Lent, an observance lasting approximately six weeks that honors the story of Jesus Christ’s sacrifice and journey into the desert for 40 days. Typically, Lent is a time of fasting and giving up certain treats. If you are giving up sweets for Lent, you won’t be able to partake in any Valentine’s Day chocolates, but the last day of Lent is Mar. 29 so you will be able to indulge before Easter! 

The last week of Lent is referred to as “Holy Week” and precedes Easter. Holy Week includes Maundy Thursday and Good Friday. These observances fall on different days each year because as we account for days based on the Gregorian calendar, these religious holidays use the Liturgical calendar, which determines when celebrations of saints and feast days are to be honored, as well as which parts of Scripture are to be read.

Easter symbolizes the story of Jesus Christ’s resurrection after the crucifixion. Many families celebrate this day by attending church, having Easter baskets filled with candy for their kids, and playing games. Easter is often a public holiday, whereas April Fools’ Day is not. While it may be fun to play pranks on April Fools’ Day, it is important to be mindful of people’s religious beliefs, and not to be offensive towards those that observe this day.

This year, you may be eating chocolate on Valentine’s Day, or you may have to wait until Easter if you gave it up for Lent. Whatever your beliefs may be, let’s not be fools this year and be respectful of others’ beliefs on these holiest of holidays!

Contact Naomi Hurley at n.hurley@thebaynet.com