Ash Wednesday is a Catholic holiday that represents the first day of Lent, which is the 40 days and 40 nights out of the year in which some Catholics give up certain things in their life they enjoy.
The ash that some Catholics choose to put on their foreheads today represents the fact that “we started out as dust and we will become dust,” said Norma Aceves, head of the Catholic Newman organization on campus. She said this is the beginning of a time during which she and other Catholics “put our time in and give up something.”
“I’m giving up meat, chocolate, and alcohol,” said Juan Pastor, a 25-year-old senior at CSUN. He said the holiday becomes more meaningful when more is given up, and it is important for this holiday to be meaningful.
“It’s a sacrifice to remember Jesus and his 40 days and 40 nights in the desert,” Pastor said.
Pastor also said his Mexican-Catholicism is different in some ways than other forms of Catholicism, so the sacrificed things could be different in the religion’s different forms.
“I decided to give up alcohol,” said Evan Imada, a 20-year-old freshman at CSUN.
“It’s not going to be too hard,” Imada said, “I don’t drink that much, but it’s something that will be good for me to give up.” It wasn’t so much the difficulty of the sacrifice that was important to him, but more the giving up of something that would improve himself, he said.
Aceves said she is going to give up fast food this year for Lent.
The Catholic Newman will be hosting an event today from 1:30 to 6:00 p.m. in the Matador Square. There will be a priest there distributing ash to Catholics who want to be part of the holiday, and students from all religions will be able to learn more about the Catholicism, Aceves said.
“A lot of Catholics don’t really understand their faith,” said Aceves. Part of what the organization wants to do is educate Catholic students as well as students from other religions, she said.