Catholic religious holidays are about to begin. While Easter Sunday falls on April 1, Lent observance begins on Wednesday, with Ash Wednesday, and proceeds until Holy Thursday, which is observed three days before Easter.

Yes, Ash Wednesday this year falls on the same day as Valentine's Day. 

Lent is considered a time for self-examination before the Easter holiday, which recognizes the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. On Ash Wednesday, ashes are placed on the forehead at mass, which serves as a reminder: “Remember, you are dust and to dust you shall return.”

Pope Francis released a message through the Vatican in preparation for the season. “Once again, the Pasch of the Lord draws near! In our preparation for Easter, God in His providence offers us each year the season of Lent as a ‘sacramental sign of our conversion,’” he wrote, “Lent summons us, and enables us, to come back to the Lord wholeheartedly and in every aspect of our life.”

9 Facts About Lent:

1. The day before Ash Wednesday is called Fat Tuesday and is a time for indulgence in preparation for fasting and repentance.

2. Lent is not observed on the Sundays leading up to Easter, so while there are 46 days between Ash Wednesday and Holy Saturday, Lent is only actually observed on 40 of them.

3. Purple is usually the color associated with Lent for sadness and suffering. Palm Sunday, or the Sunday before Easter Sunday, is generally mostly associated with the color red for martyrdom, while Easter is associated with white.

4. Generally, Catholics abstain from consuming any type of meat that lives on land on the Fridays of Lent. This includes any meat of chicken, pig, cow, sheep and others. Fish is generally accepted because they don’t live on land.

5. People between the ages of 18 and 59 are usually expected to fast.

6. Those who are fasting are expected to only have one meal and it should be meatless on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday.

7. There are three pillars of Lent, prayer, fasting and almsgiving, or the caring and helping of others.

8. The tradition of giving something up for the duration of Lent is more of an adopted tradition and isn’t really part of the rules of Lent or regulated by the church at all.

9. There are no fasting rules around drinks, only food.