The first day of Lent is observed with a special service. The theme is that, but for the Grace of God, we are sinners and otherwise cut off from God. The symbol of this is the sign of the cross on the forehead, with the words “you are dust, and to dust you shall return”. The use of ashes is a sign of penance and mourning. Ash Wednesday is one of two days recommended for fasting. This refers to the practice of giving up food for a meal or for the entire day.
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