Ash Wednesday, an ancient religious tradition, for Catholics, is one of the holiest days of the year. the ash crosses spotted on foreheads throughout the day.
As a human corpse decomposes, it turns to dust, or ash. The ashes placed on one’s forehead (mixture of palm ash and olive oil) are a symbol to remind us from dust we are formed and unto dust we shall return.
As the priest applies them in a cross formation on the forehead, they will say either, “Turn away from sin and believe in the Gospel” or “Remember that you are dust, and unto dust you shall return.”
Ash Wednesday is the first day of Lent, which, according to the religion, is the 40 days of preparing for Jesus to be resurrected up until Easter Sunday. Lent is a time for reflection and penitence, and often a time for sacrifice—this is Why Catholics don’t eat meat on Wednesdays or on Fridays throughout Lent. It’s also common for observers to give up something they love for the entirety of Lent.