Today is Miercoles de Ceniza in Mexico! (Ash Wednesday, for all you who live in gringolandia).
I’m not Catholic, so I don’t know a whole lot about Miercoles de Ceniza. I do know that it marks the beginning of the Cuaresma (Lent), and that today, every school/office building/church in Cancun will have special ceremonies in which a priest will mark a cross of ash on the foreheads of the Catholics. (What would happen if you tried to hold a religious ceremony in an American office building?) It symbolizes the concept that “you are dust, and to dust you shall return”.
It’s days like this when I (almost) wish I were Catholic, because crosses made of ash look pretty cool. (There is always some poor soul whose “cross” looks more like a large dot. Maybe the priest had shaky hands? Large thumbs?)
Mexican Catholics follow a special calendar during the 40 days of Lent, where they can’t eat certain meats on certain days, and other days have special ceremonies and masses. There are also special prayers to be said.
Sometimes, I wish that we had this type of religious unity in the States… that nearly everybody practiced the same religion and held the same beliefs. It’s very calming.
Still, there’s something to be said for a country like the good ole US of A, where different cultures and beliefs provide for fascinating discussion and great diversity. There are pros and cons to both cultures in this aspect, and it’s so cool to find out about our differences and similarities.
**UPDATE: My wise fiance informs me that this ceremony is not held in every school. I had forgotten that my university (which was Catholic) had a chapel on campus. They did have it at my office building, though. My apologies for jumping to conclusions.