Ash Wednesday, observed by Roman Catholic and some Protestant churches, is the first day of Lent. It falls on the Wednesday seven weeks before Easter. Observers may have ashes imposed on their foreheads as a reminder of their mortality, as referenced in Genesis, “you are dust, and unto dust you shall return” (Gen. 3:19).
Lent marks a 40-day period on the church calendar leading up to the celebration of Easter. During Lent, Christians have traditionally engaged in practices of self-denial, like fasting, meant to orient their hearts and minds to the sufferings of Christ, who spent 40 days in the desert fasting and enduring temptations from Satan. While many evangelicals reject Lenten disciplines for their associations with Catholicism, in recent years a greater number have experimented with practices like giving up a favorite indulgence or abstaining from meat on Friday