General Information




advanced search


Ash Wednesday


Ash Wednesday: Priest puts ashes onto woman’s forehead in the shape of a cross.

United States

Administrative Professionals Day

April Fools' Day

Arbor Day

Ash Wednesday


National Boss Day

Christmas Day

Christmas Eve

Cinco de Mayo

Columbus Day

Daylight Saving Time

Earth Day


Election Day

Father's Day

Flag Day

Good Friday

Grandparents Day

Groundhog Day



Inauguration Day

Independence Day


Labor Day

Lincoln's Birthday

Mardi Gras

Memorial Day

Martin Luther King's Birthday

Mother's Day

New Year's Day

New Year's Eve

National Nurses Day

Palm Sunday


Patriot Day

Pearl Harbor Day

Presidents' Day


St. Patrick's Day


Super Bowl Sunday

Tax Day

National Teacher Day

Thanksgiving Day

Valentine's Day

Veterans Day

Washington's Birthday



Ash Wednesday is 46 days (the 7th Wednesday) before Easter Sunday.

In the western church the first day of Lent is called Ash Wednesday from the ceremonial use of ashes, as a symbol of penitence, in the service prescribed for the day. The custom is still retained in the Roman Catholic Church as well as the Anglican, Episcopal and Lutheran Churches.

The ashes, obtained by burning the remains of the palm branches blessed on the previous Palm Sunday, are placed in a vessel on the altar and consecrated before High Mass. The priest then invites those present to approach and, dipping his thumb in the ashes, marks them as they kneel with the sign of the cross on the forehead, with the words: Remember, man, thou art dust and unto dust thou shalt return.

This ceremony is derived from the custom of public penance in the early church. When the custom was extended to the entire congregation is not known, although it seems to have been in common use by the late 10th century.


Photograph on this page Copyright © RE:Quest.
Used with permission.





Nazareth Resource Library: Ash Wednesday - Some commonly asked questions answered by James Akin.


New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia: Ash Wednesday - Definition and history of Ash Wednesday.


What’s the reason for ashes on Ash Wednesday? - Information about Ash Wednesday provided by the Ken Collins' Web Site.


Sponsored Links



















About our holiday schedules