Generated Time: Fri, 21 Feb 20 08:50:38 +0800

Wearing Clothes Made From Goat Hair, and Other Ways to Show You Are Sorry

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Now it’s time for Words and Their Stories -- our weekly program about common, everyday expressions in American English.

During the next few weeks, many people in South America will celebrate Carnival. It is a time of music and dancing.

The party ends before the Christian observance of Ash Wednesday, which this year falls on February 26..

Ash Wednesday has a very different feeling than Carnival. It is meant to be a day of prayer, sorrow and asking for forgiveness.

In American English, guilt or sadness is often expressed by the symbol of ashes – the gray matter left over from a fire.

For example, if you are feeling really bad about something you did, you might say you are wearing sackcloth and ashes.

The phrase is repeated in several places in the Bible, the Christian holy book. The word “sackcloth” refers to a kind of clothing that feels rough on the skin. It was sometimes made of goat hair.

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