In Western Christianity, this is the starting day of Lent and the 40th day before Easter Sunday.
Ash Wednesday’s name comes from the fact that the early Christians sprayed ashes on their heads, which later became part of the ecclesiastical service from the 12th century. (This is the so-called cremation).
On Ash Wednesday, primarily in the Catholic Church, a cross is drawn on the forehead from dedicated ash, produced by cremation of a bark used in the procession on the previous Flower Sunday, with one of the following sentences: „Remember that you are from dust and you will become dust”.
II. Orban Pope ordered in 1901 that all Christians’ foreheads should be anointed with ashes by the priest. Catholics still hold this custom.
In churches after the Mass, the priest consecrates the ashes of the devoted covenant of the previous year and draws the cross on the forehead of the believers. Sprinkling with ashes is an ancient symbol of repentance, as ash warns of death.
Ash Wednesday is strict for the Catholic believers as they can eat only 3 times a day and they can eat once which is enough for them to feel full. The church teaches that self-restraint should be practiced in other ways too.