It is a special time of fasting, repentance and prayer for the Christians. Ash Wednesday emphasized on two specific themes namely man’s sinfulness before God and human mortality.
The Palm branches from the previous Palm Sunday service are saved and burnt to produce ashes which religious leaders used to mark on the fore heads of the faithful in the shape of a cross with the words for dust you are and to dust you shall return.
Speaking with Radio Nigeria a catholic priest Reverend Father Christian Anokwuru enumerated some of the significance of the day to include purification, total submission to God and repentance from sin.
While tracing the origin of the Ash Wednesday to the Bible, Rev.Father Anokwuru stated that the feast started during the time of Pope Gregory the great in 590 to 605AD noting that the practice of repentance, mourning in sack clothes and ashes were found in both the old and new
As Christians used the period of Ash Wednesday to commence the forty days of fasting and prayer which could also include refraining from eating meats and taking of alcoholic drinking. They are expected to spend more time in prayer and reflection as lent is considered by many to be an opportunity for spiritual transformation.