Ash Wednesday marked the first day of Lent, the 40-day period – not including Sundays – of fasting, prayer and repentance leading up to Easter, which this year is April 20.
The ashes form the sign of a cross as a mark of repentance and a reminder of mortality. At Ash Wednesday services the clergy quote a biblical phrase from Genesis, “Remember, man is dust, and unto dust you shall return.”
The 40-day period points to the biblical account of Jesus fasting for 40 days to resist the devil’s temptations in the wilderness.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to The Sacramento Bee