On Wednesday, you may see a lot of people all around the world talking about what they will quit for the following 46 days while flaunting ash marks on their foreheads.

This is a mark that Catholics and Christians receive during mass on Ash Wednesday, one of the most well-known and significant holy days in the church. It also marks the start of the countdown to Easter and the signal of Lent for people who follow the religion.

On February 22, 2023, millions of Christians from many denominations will observe Ash Wednesday as the start of Lent.

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What is Ash Wednesday?

Prior to Easter, on Ash Wednesday, sometimes referred to as the Day of Ashes, Catholics, and other Christians confess their misdeeds and declare their allegiance to God.  Being a time for personal reflection and a way to connect with God through communal prayer and fasting, it is a major religious festival for Christians.

It is observed around six weeks prior to Easter Sunday, which honors Jesus Christ’s resurrection. During this period, Jesus was persuaded by Satan, according to the Bible, before he began preaching.

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As a way of preparing for the Lenten season and the celebration of Christ’s death, resurrection, and ascent into Heaven, Christians refrain from any indulgence and observe a fast on Ash Wednesday.

On this day, a priest will place ashes in the shape of a cross on a worshiper’s forehead and recite one of two phrases: “Repent and believe in the Gospel” or “Remember that you are dust, and to dust, you shall return.”

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The ash is a symbol of someone who has admitted their sins and expressed regret. After receiving their ashes, a person is not compelled to wear them after Mass, but most people do so for the rest of their day. The palms from Palm Sunday the year prior, which are cremated and blessed, are usually where the ashes come from.