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As with almost all Christian holidays Easter has been secularized and commercialized The dichotomous nature of Easter and its symbols however is not necessarily a modern fabrication The Story of Easter has been held as a holy celebration throughout the past and still remains sacred today The events leading up to and including the death burial and resurrection of Christ have been remembered annually in a special collective way by most of the Christian church throughout its history These special commemorations include Ash Wednesday the beginning of the forty days of preparation Lent for celebrating the death Good Friday burial and resurrection Easter of Jesus Christ Ash Wednesday begins a forty-day period during which Christians remember their sinfulness repent ask Gods forgiveness and recognize that Gods forgiveness comes at an infinite price - the death of Christ on the cross on our behalf It is not meant as a time of false humility or prideful self-sacrifice It reminds us that our sin separates us from God who demonstrates His own love toward us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us Rom 58 The day before Ash Wednesday is popularly known as Mardi Gras or Fat Tuesday It has developed into a time of partying and carousing exemplified by the extravagant celebration in New Orleans Most people who celebrate Mardi Gras attach little or no religious significance to it Although it is better known than the following day Ash Wednesday it is virtually irrelevant to the spiritual focus of Christian observances On Ash Wednesday the historic churches mark the beginning of this period with a special service explaining the season call the prople to repentance signifying repentance with ashes by which a cross is marked on the forehead of the penitent Christian Ashes traditionally represent mourning repentance and the judgement of God This is the Christians approach of repenting from its evil ways and pleading to God that He spare them from
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