CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) — This week, Catholics marked the beginning of Lent with Ash Wednesday. The season asks the faithful to repent for past sins by giving up a vice.

But an unrelated holiday with a similar name is all about indulgence.

It’s been more than two years since Illinois legalized recreational marijuana, but for decades before, smoking cannabis was a part of counterculture, a sign of resistance. At the University of Illinois, “Hash Wednesday” brought secret vices out into the public eye.

WCIA’s Stan Childress filed this report in 1978:

An English teacher this reporter once was. So where prose doesn’t do, perhaps verse does. For this is a special day on the U of I Quad, a day whose activities were once thought mad.

It’s an anniversary of sorts one week delayed. But as these faces tell, the folks aren’t dismayed. Hash Wednesday they call it, coming months each year perhaps as a reminder of the things many fear.

“I can’t understand why anybody would have any fear for it whatsoever,” one student said.

“A lot of people know nothing about marijuana at all, and it frightens them,” another student said.

“[The] Older generation doesn’t know about it.”

“I think a lot of the society does fear it.”

Let’s call these things drugs of the subculture set. But just “sub” are they? We may discover yet.

Could we be moving in a direction unknown? Or is this an old path generations have known? We suspect the latter, that is this trail is old. Aged wine and new flasks, this tale is being told. By guys, hear what’s said by the Fords and Mills. Hard heart, young folks, this stuff really kills.

The purpose of this day: to bite the solon’s ear. The stuff called hash, we need not fear. Illegal it is, we’ve heard the law say, but there were no arrests on this hash day.

It’s as if to say ‘Let’s all take a pause and consider decriminalization,’ which is their cause.

Let’s remember one thing: the solons aren’t deaf. Remember, too? For them, the issue is complex.

So they’ve had their day, and a sunny one at that. And we’re sure next year they’ll be back.

And I’ve had my day with some Charles Osgood flair. And for those of you who broke no laws today, it just doesn’t seem fair.

While marijuana might be legal now, forget lighting anything on the U of I Quad. The campus when smoke-free, even outdoors, in 2014.