Wednesday, March 01, 2006
Today is Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent and a day of contemplating transgressions. Ash Wednesday occurs forty days (and forty nights) before Easter (not counting Sundays) and 44 days before Good Friday. At masses on this day, members of the church are blessed with ashes prepared by burning last years palms from Palm Sunday. The symbolism of the ashes probably derives from the near East tradition of throwing ashes upon oneself to signify repentence before G_d. Upon marking the participants forehead with ashes the priest says "Remember, man, that you are dust, and unto dust you shall return." The ashes are not removed until after sundown.