Ash Wednesday (Christian)
The first day of the Lent and the period when Christians begin their 40 day* of fasting and penitence leading up to Easter Sunday.
Followers receive a mark of ashes in the sign of the cross on their foreheads signifying the belief that “from dust you came, to dust you shall return.” A version of which is stated by the priest when the ashes are administered to each follower.
The ashes used are from palm leaves left over from the previous years Palm Sunday observances.
*While the Lenten period is actually 46 days, Sundays are not considered part of the period of penance.