Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent, a 40-day period before Easter dedicated to reflection, prayer and fasting — suggested by Jesus' 40 days of fasting in the wilderness as described in the book of Matthew. The 40-day period does not include the six Sundays between Ash Wednesday and Easter. During Lent, many Christians make personal vows of abstinence, which could include anything from refraining from eating candy to vowing not to gossip to being less selfish.
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