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Ash Wednesday Could Throw Off Your Valentine’s Day Plans, But Don’t Panic

In fact, these two holidays don’t have much in common at all. On the one hand, Ash Wednesday is a day of repentance and abstinence — those who observe it are encouraged to fast, attend services and confession, and, yes, wear ashes in the shape of a cross on their forehead. This solemn holiday is also the first day of Lent, the 40-day-long period leading up to Easter Sunday. On the other hand (and we probably don’t need to tell you this), Valentine’s Day is the day when people feel commercial and societal pressure to shower their loved ones with affection, treats, and gifts.

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