David Quidnunc • Link
Ash Wednesday dates during the diary
Ash Wednesday is a "moveable feast" -- a church holiday that doesn't occur on a particular date each year.
During the years of Pepys's diary, it occurs on these dates:
7 March 1659/60
27 Feb. 1660/61
12 Feb. 1661/62
4 March 1662/63
24 Feb. 1663/64
8 Feb. 1664/65
28 Feb. 1665/66
20 Feb. 1666/67
5 Feb. 1667/68
24 Feb. 1668/69
From the "Ecclesiastical Date Calendar" calculator at http://www.albion.edu/english/calendar/easter.htm
"Ash Wednesday is the beginning of Lent for Western Christian churches. It's a day of penitence to clean the soul before the Lent fast.
"Roman Catholic, Anglican, and some other churches hold special services at which worshippers are marked with ashes as a symbol of death, and sorrow for sin.[...]The service draws on the ancient Biblical traditions of covering one's head with ashes, wearing sackcloth, and fasting.
"The mark of ashes: In Ash Wednesday services churchgoers are marked on the forehead with a cross of ashes as a sign of penitence and mortality.[...] The use of ashes, made by burning palm crosses from the previous Palm Sunday, is very symbolic."
Chart showing the number of references in each month of the diary’s entries.