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Is it OK to eat candy or chocolate on Ash Wednesday?



Philip Kosloski - published on 02/13/24

When Ash Wednesday and St. Valentine's Day collide, Catholics are stuck making difficult choices, especially as the world indulges in delicious treats.

Ash Wednesday is typically a solemn day in the Church’s liturgical calendar, a day that includes rules on fasting and abstinence.

At the same time it is a moveable day, which means that it isn’t on the same date each year and every so often falls on February 14, St. Valentine’s Day.

Can you eat candy or chocolate?

The Catholic Church does not rule out specific desserts to abstain from on Ash Wednesday.

According to the USCCB, the following rules for fasting are in force for those between the ages of 18 and 59.

Fasting on these days means we can have only one full, meatless meal. Some food can be taken at the other regular meal times if necessary, but combined they should be less than a full meal. Liquids are allowed at any time, but no solid food should be consumed between meals.

Ash Wednesday is also a day of abstinence from eating meat for all those 14 and older.

The biggest consequence of these rules is that there should be no snacking.

If candy or chocolate is not part of a meal, then technically it shouldn’t be eaten.

Furthermore, the consumption of sweet foods is also dependent on any personal sacrifices made for the 40 days of Lent. While not part of the official observance of Lent, many Catholics give-up sweets or other favorite foods for Lent as a sacrifice to God.

Above all, we need to discern for ourselves whether or not to eat candy on Ash Wednesday and to observe the “spirit” of the day as best as we can.

LentPrayerValentines Day
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