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February 14, 2018 07:23 AM

Valentine's Day And Ash Wednesday Coincide For First Time In Decades

Sioux Falls

Not only is today Valentine's Day, but it's Ash Wednesday or the start of Lent for many Christians. For the first time in 73 years, Valentine's Day and Ash Wednesday both land on February 14. 

While Valentine's day is a day of indulgent dinners, followers of Lent are reminded that holy obligations still apply. 

It might have looked like Valentine's Day at the Holy Spirit School preschool class, but the big party actually took place on Tuesday. 

"The kids are just excited to be celebrating, and to be giving cards and treats to their friends," teacher Whitney Millar said. 

The Catholic school passed out treats and trinkets a day early this year. Millar says the start of Lent takes priority over the hallmark holiday.

"Keeping Ash Wednesday truly like a holy day here and not indulging in extra treats and such for a party," Millar said. 

Over the past few weeks, Millar has been prepping her students for the start of the holy calendar.

"We talk about Lent is a season of fasting, and extra praying, and maybe giving up something and getting ready," Millar said. 

Catholic Priest Charles Cimpl says both holidays on the same day can create a sticky situation.

"In the Catholic tradition, we have abstinence from meat for people of a certain age, and we also have a fast day, so sometimes people are fasting. But at the same time they probably want to be celebrating Valentine's Day, so there could be a confusion," Cimpl said. 

Both agree with a little planning, you can still hone in on the holy holiday and eat your candy, too. 

"Most people were probably looking at it, it didn't just pop up on the calendar accidentally now. It was something they probably looked at into the future and said here's how we're going to celebrate it, realizing they have to abstain from meat and fast," Cimpl said. 

"As long as they get their Valentine's party, they're (the kids are) pretty happy," said Millar. 

Ash Wednesday won't fall on Valentine's Day again until 2029. 
 
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