Ash Wednesday is one of four Christian holidays on the holiday calendar Ii Jamaica, the other three being Good Friday, Easter Monday, and Christmas Day. Ash Wednesday is the first day of Lent in Roman Catholic and certain Protestant traditions.
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The day or days just before Ash Wednesday are Carnival Season, a relatively new innovation in Jamaica that came to the island in 1989. Carnival was introduced by a group that had been traveling to Trinidad for Carnival for years but couldn’t in 1989 due to Hurricane Gilbert. So they introduced Carnival to Jamaica with great success.
Ash Wednesday can fall anywhere from 4 February to 10 March, but it’s always placed 40 days before Holy Saturday, the day before Easter Sunday.
Many in Jamaica go to church services on Ash Wednesday. In some denominations, ashes blessed by a priest are applied to the foreheads of penitents who kneel at the church altar. The ashes may be marked in the shape of a cross.
For many others, however, Ash Wednesday is just a day off to spend at home with family and friends. It’s a time to relax and recover from the raucous celebrations of Carnival that have just ended.