Today is the Asparagus or Pure Wednesday, which begins with korism (forty days), that is, the time of 40 days of a special form of obedience preparation for the celebration of Christ’s venerable mystery (death, burial and the resurrection of Christ) – Easter.
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.
When the priest applies the cross of ashes, he says to the worshiper: “Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” He also may say “Repent and believe in the Gospel.”
Ash Wednesday is important because it marks the start of the six-week Lenten period leading up to Easter, when Christians believe Jesus died and was resurrected. During this period, Christians show repentance and mourning for their sins with fasting, self-sacrifice and prayer, because they believe that Christ died for them.
Christians will celebrate Easter on Sunday, April 12. Eastern Orthodox churches will celebrate Easter a week later, on Sunday, April 19.
Christians believe Christ rose from the dead on Easter to sit at the right hand of God, his father.