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February 16.

St. Onesimus. Sts. Elias, Jeremy, Isaias, Samuel, and Daniel, A.D. 309. St. Juliana. St. Gregory X. Pope, A.D. 1276. St. Tanco, or Tatta, of Scotland, A.D. 815.

Ash Wednesday.

Holiday at the Public Offices; except the Stamps, Customs, and Excise.

This is the first day of Lent. It is called Ash Wednesday, because in the Roman catholic church the priest blesses ashes on this day, and puts them on the heads of the people. These ashes are made of the branches of brushwood or palms, consecrated the year before. The ashes are cleaned, and dried, and sifted, fit for the purpose. After the priest has given absolution to the people, he prays "Vouchsafe + to bless and sanctify + these ashes — that whosoever shall sprinkle these ashes upon them for the redemption of their sins, they may obtain health of body and protection of soul,["] &c. Prayers ended, the priest sprinkles the ashes with holy water, and perfumes them thrice with incense, and the people coming to him and kneeling, he puts ashes on their heads in the form of a cross with other ceremonies.

Platina, a priest, and librarian to the Vatican, who wrote the lives of the popes relates that Prochetus, archbishop of Geneva, being at Rome on Ash Wednesday, he fell at the feet of pope Boniface VIII., who blessed and gave out the ashes on that day, in order to be signed with the blessed ashes as others had been. Thinking him to be his enemy, instead of uttering the usual form, "Remember, O man, because thou art dust, thou shalt return to dust," &c., the pope parodied the form and said "Remember though art a Gibelline, and with the Gibellines thou shalt return to ashes," and then his holiness threw the ashes in the archbishop's eyes.

It is observed by Mr. Fosbroke that ladies wore friars' girdles in Lent. This gentleman quotes, from "Camden's Remains," that sir Thomas More, finding his lady scolding her servants during Lent, endeavoured to restrain her. "Tush, tush, my lord," said she, "look, here is one step to heavenward," showing him a friar's girdle. "I fear me," said he, "that one step, will not bring you up one step higher." There are various instances of belief in the virtues of garments that had been worn by monks and friars; some of them almost surpassing belief.

Ash Wednesday is observed in the church of England by reading publicly the curses denounced against impenitent sinners; to each malediction the people being directed to utter, amen. Many who consider this as cursing their neighbours, keep away from church on the occasion; which absence from these motives Mr. Brand regards as "a folly and superstition worthy of the after-midnight, the spirit-walking time of popery." On this eloquent remark, and Mr. Brand is seldom warmed to eloquence, it may be observed, that persons far removed from superstition and who have never approached "the valley of the shadow of popery," deem the commination of the "Common Prayer Book," a departure from the christian dispensation, and its injunctions of brotherly kindness.


Lilac Primrose. Primula acaulis plena.
Dedicated to St. Juliana.