Ash Wednesday derives its name from the practice of placing ashes on the foreheads of church congregants as a sign of repentance. The ashes used are typically gathered after the Palm Crosses from the previous year’s Palm Sunday are burned. These ashes are sometimes mixed with holy water or oil and then anointed on the forehead in the sign of a cross as a sign of repentance.
In the Roman Catholic Church, Ash Wednesday is typically observed by fasting, abstaining from meat, and repentance. It’s also a day for contemplating one’s transgressions and sins. Roman Catholics between the ages of 18 and 59 are permitted to consume only one full meal, which may be supplemented by two smaller meals, that together should not equal a full meal on Ash Wednesday as a form of fasting.
Ash Wednesday is very serious for not only Catholics but many different branches of Christianity. So be respectful and remember that it is a holy day for many people.