Ash Wednesday – officially known as the Day of Ashes – is a day of repentance, when Christians confess their sins and profess their devotion to God.


During a Mass, a priest places the ashes on a worshiper's forehead in the shape of a cross. The ceremony, which also can be performed by a minister or pastor, is meant to show that a person belongs to Jesus Christ, and it also represents a person's grief and mourning for their sins – the same sins that Christians believe Jesus Christ gave his life for when he died on the cross.


Ash Wednesday is important because it marks the start of the Lenten period leading up to Easter, when Christians believe Jesus was resurrected.