Ash Wednesday or mercoledì delle ceneri signifies the first day of Lent in the Christian calendar and this year occurs on 14 February. It marks the end of Carnevale, the period of festivities preceding the traditional 40 days of fasting and prayer during Lent which ends on 1 April with Easter Sunday.
Pope Francis will preside at an Ash Wednesday service at the Basilica of S. Sabina on the Aventine hill at 17.30 on 14 February. Tickets are required, via the Prefecture of the Papal Household, but there is no fee.
The Anglican Church of All Saints' at Via del Babuino 153 is holding an Imposition of the Ashes at 12.45 on 14 February while the Caravita international Catholic community holds an Ash Wednesday Ecumenical Liturgy of the Word with Imposition of Ashes, at the Oratory of St Francis Xavier, at 19.00.
Meanwhile to celebrate the end of Carnevale on martedì grasso (Shrove Tuesday or Pancake Tuesday), Rome's oldest pub, the Fiddler's Elbow offers free pancakes on 13 February, from 18.30.
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