THE ASH HAS BIBLICAL SIGNIFICANCE.

The ashes used on Ash Wednesday are meant to represent dust. When receiving ashes on their foreheads, parishioners hear the words: “Remember you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” This comes from the bible reference when God says to Adam when exiling him from the Garden of Eden. Adam in this case is literally formed from dust. On Ash Wednesday, the saying is a reminder to be humble in the face of mortality.

THE HISTORY OF ASH WEDNESDAY IS LESS THAN 1000 YEARS OLD.

The first Ash Wednesday ceremonies were likely held sometime in 11th century CE. However this is never mentioned in the Bible, but there is a verse from the Book of Daniel that links fasting to ashes, and some scholars believe this is the origin of the Lenten practice. Ash Wednesday didn’t gain mainstream popularity with Christians in the U.S. until the 1970s. In the 1970s, the practice matched up with the idea of embracing once-discarded traditions and the search for ways to connect the physical body to spiritual life. Ash Wednesday was an opportunity for connecting faith to the body, so many American Christians at the time decided to begin wearing that outward physical mark of their spiritual lives.