Lent may be preceded by a carnival season. The origin of the word carnival
is probably from the Latin carne vale, meaning flesh (meat), farewell.
Elaborate pageants often close this season on Shrove Tuesday, the day
before the beginning of Lent. This day is also called by its French name,
Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday).
Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent, gets its name from the practice,
mainly in the Roman Catholic church, of putting ashes on the foreheads of
the faithful to remind them that man is but dust.
The resurrection of Jesus took place during the Passover. Christians of
the Eastern church initially celebrated both holidays together. But the
Passover can fall on any day of the week, and Christians of the Western
church preferred to celebrate Easter on Sunday the day of the resurrection.
Funk & Wagnalls Knowledge Center
Compton's Interactive Encyclopedia, 1995