Today marks the first day of lent, all over the world Catholics attend Mass.
Ash Wednesday is a Christian holy day of prayer and fasting. It is preceded by Shrove Tuesday, where people confess their sins and do penance.
It falls on the first day of Lent, the six weeks of penitence before Easter.
Ash Wednesday is traditionally observed by Catholics although many other Christians observe it too.
Ash Wednesday is recognized by marking a Lenten calendar, praying a Lenten daily devotional and marking a Lenten sacrifice that they will not partake of until the arrival of Eastertide.
Today marks the start of a 40-day period which is an allusion to the separation of Jesus in the desert, and Christians observe this by through fast and pray.
During this period, Christians show repentance and mourning for their sins because they believe that Christ died for them.
Priests ceremoniously place ashes on the heads of Christians on Ash Wednesday, he speaks the words: “Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” Alternatively, the priest may utter these words, “Repent and believe in the Gospel.” Priests administer ashes during Mass and all are invited to accept the ashes as a visible symbol of penance. Even non-Christians and the excommunicated are welcome to reserve the ashes.
The ashes are made from blessed palm branches, taken from the previous year’s Palm Sunday Mass.
This illustrates of a woman holding a rosary in church in Hyperbad, India.
Over 19.9 million Catholics in India celebrate Ash Wednesday. The prayer service is usually held at Saint Mary’s Basilica in Secunderabad, the twin city of Hyderabad. #s63