My sister shot me an email this morning with a question that I think many people might be wondering this time of year: "Why isn't Ash Wednesday a Holy Day of Obligation?" As she writes: "It just feels odd that the start to such an important season and a day you hear so much about is not an obligation. Just looking for a reason why!"
My somewhat educated speculation follows:
"My thought is that Holy Days of Obligation are joy filled events, and sorta represents mini celebrations of Easter throughout the year and offer significant moments that brought about our salvation. Ash Wednesday, as a penitential day, does not fulfill these criteria. Also, it does commemorate a significant event in Universal Salvation, but rather invites the faithful to recognize their need for salvation. Does this make any sense?"
Anyone have anything better for an explanation?