Catholics across the world are today flocking churches to receive ash crosses on their foreheads ,a ritual which will usher them into the lent season.
Ash Wednesday also called Day of Ashes, Ash Wednesday recalls the 40 days and nights of Jesus’ suffering, from His Agony in the Garden of Gethsemane to His arrest, trial, and crucifixion. In the Holy Bible, a mark on the forehead symbolizes a person’s ownership which makes the symbol of the cross on one’s forehead a sign of “surrender to Christ.” Many retain the ashes on their foreheads until sundown as a sign of humility and complete surrender to God.
The ashes from the burnt palm fronds from last year’s Palm Sunday observance serve as a reminder to the faithful that this holy day must be observed as a day of fasting, abstinence, prayer, self-denial, and repentance.
Catholics between the ages of 18 and 59, except for the sick, are permitted to consume only one full meal, which may be supplemented by two smaller meals, which together, should not exceed the full meal. Those who are 14-years-old and above are also required to abstain from meat today and on all Fridays for the duration of the 40-day Lenten season.