Today Christians all over the world mark the first day of Lent as Ash Wednesday. The ritual of 'ashing' the forehead replaces the normal penitential rite that occurs at the beginning of many Christian Services. What is the history of this ritual? Why is it so well attended even in countries with a growing secular environment? What do the ashes status as sacramentals mean? Where do they come from ? What have been some of the recent trends to make it more accessible?
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