Ash Wednesday signals the beginning of Lenten season for Christians. It takes place 46 days before Easter and the day after Shrove Tuesday.
Ash Wednesday services focus on the death and repentance the ashes represent. In many churches, the ashes are made from the palms branches that are burned from the previous Palm Sunday service.
Following a service or mass, the pastor or priest will invite their congregation to receive the ashes on their forehead. A cross pattern or other similar mark is made.
This solemn day begins a time of meditation, reflection, self-examination, study, and contemplation when Christians consider their own mortality and sinfulness in preparation for Easter.
HOW TO OBSERVE
Attend an Ash Wednesday service. Learn more about the history of Ash Wednesday. Share your Ash Wednesday events and services.
The use of ashes during spiritual occasions has ancient non-Christian roots. However, Ash Wednesday and the beliefs that accompany it, date back to the 6th century.