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Ash Wednesday in Australia

Many Christians in Australia observe Ash Wednesday as the first day of Lent. It is the beginning of the Lenten fast and is the day after Shrove Tuesday, also known as Pancake Tuesday or Pancake Day.

Bowl of ashes
The practice of marking foreheads with ashes occurs in some Christian churches on Ash Wednesday.
The practice of marking foreheads with ashes occurs in some Christian churches on Ash Wednesday.
Illustration based on artwork from©iStockphoto.com/Ben Beltman

What do people do?

Some churches in Australia hold special Ash Wednesday services in the evenings or during the day. It is a time when people who seek penitence for their wrongdoings are marked with the sign of the cross, from blessed ashes, on their forehead. This symbolic occasion reminds people of their mortality and sorrow for sins, as well as the will for change and the hope of forgiveness.

Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of Lenten discipline for many Christian churches. It is traditionally a time of fasting and prayer. Many Catholic private schools teach their students about the concept of Ash Wednesday and its importance in the church and in one’s life.

For some Christians, Lent is a time to think about life and death, as well as reflect on life’s choices and possible life directions. Christian retreats may be organized in some parts of Australia for people to reflect on, learn, and share with others what they have learnt during this time of the year. It is also a time of goodwill for many people. There are also those who chose this time of the year to donate to charities or take part in charity events as a way to get close to God.

Public life

Ash Wednesday is not a public holiday in Australia.

Background and Symbols

The practice of marking foreheads with ashes was common among Roman Catholic churches and a few other churches in Australia. However, this practice is now spreading across various other Christian denominations. A general article about Ash Wednesday worldwide covers more information about its background and symbols.

About Ash Wednesday in other countries

Read more about Ash Wednesday.

Ash Wednesday Observances

WeekdayDateYearNameHoliday typeWhere it is observed
WedFeb 281990Ash WednesdayChristian 
WedFeb 131991Ash WednesdayChristian 
WedMar 41992Ash WednesdayChristian 
WedFeb 241993Ash WednesdayChristian 
WedFeb 161994Ash WednesdayChristian 
WedMar 11995Ash WednesdayChristian 
WedFeb 211996Ash WednesdayChristian 
WedFeb 121997Ash WednesdayChristian 
WedFeb 251998Ash WednesdayChristian 
WedFeb 171999Ash WednesdayChristian 
WedMar 82000Ash WednesdayChristian 
WedFeb 282001Ash WednesdayChristian 
WedFeb 132002Ash WednesdayChristian 
WedMar 52003Ash WednesdayChristian 
WedFeb 252004Ash WednesdayChristian 
WedFeb 92005Ash WednesdayChristian 
WedMar 12006Ash WednesdayChristian 
WedFeb 212007Ash WednesdayChristian 
WedFeb 62008Ash WednesdayChristian 
WedFeb 252009Ash WednesdayChristian 
WedFeb 172010Ash WednesdayChristian 
WedMar 92011Ash WednesdayChristian 
WedFeb 222012Ash WednesdayChristian 
WedFeb 132013Ash WednesdayChristian 
WedMar 52014Ash WednesdayChristian 
WedFeb 182015Ash WednesdayChristian 
WedFeb 102016Ash WednesdayChristian 
WedMar 12017Ash WednesdayChristian 
WedFeb 142018Ash WednesdayChristian 
WedMar 62019Ash WednesdayChristian 
WedFeb 262020Ash WednesdayChristian 

Quick Facts

Ash Wednesday marks the first day of Lent in for many Christians in Australia.

Ash Wednesday 2015

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Ash Wednesday 2016

Wednesday, February 10, 2016


Name in other languages

Ash WednesdayEnglish
List of dates for other years

Related holiday

Other holidays in February 2015 in Australia

Other calendars

Related links