...is the first day of Lent and occurs 46 days (40 days not counting Sundays) before Easter. As Easter is a different date each year , so Ash Wednesday can fall anytime during February or March.These forty days commemorate Our Lord's time in the desert.
Ash Wednesday derives its name from the practice of placing ashes on the foreheads of adherents as a sign of mourning and repentance to God. The ashes used are typically gathered after the palms or Palm Crosses from the previous year's Palm Sunday are burned.
Receiving the ashes on the forehead during the Ash Wednesday service denotes the recipient's wish to turn from sin and to contemplate our own sinful lives. To try and live a life more focused on God we are encouraged to contemplate Our Lord's 40 days in the desert .As He began fasting and praying at this time we are encouraged to follow His example and fast and abstain from any meat and it's products both today and on Good Friday.
To refrain from chosen foods, treats, pleasures and give alms to the poor during the whole of Lent helps us to concentrate on the prospect of Holy Week and Easter Day itself.
'Remember, man, that thou art dust, and unto dust thou shalt return.'
Genesis 3, v 19.