Ash Wednesday
Ash Wednesday is the first day of Lent. It marks the beginning of six and a half weeks of repentance, fasting and abstinence in preparation for the greatest Christian festival of Easter.  
Traditionally Christians fast on Ash Wednesday as a way of confronting their sins. They may go to church to receive ashes, in the sign of the cross, on their foreheads. As the priest or vicar applies the ashes he says:
“Remember man/woman that you are dust, and unto dust you shall return.”
This is a reminder of human mortality - the fact that one day everyone will die - and will have to answer to God for their sins.

The ashes come from burning the previous year's palm branches from Palm Sunday.

 

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