Today is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the 40-day period leading up to Easter, known as Lent. Ash Wednesday gets its name from the tradition Catholics observe of having ashes applied to their foreheads in the shape of the cross.
Churches are stocked full of ashes so that priests and deacons can really cake on the Catholic finger paint to their parishioners faces. But where do they get the ashes?
Let’s find out in today’s edition of Wonder Why Wednesday…
Where do Ash Wednesday ashes come from?
Answer: Ash Wednesday ashes are made from by burning of palms blessed on the previous year’s Palm Sunday.
Churches pass out palm fronds during the Palm Sunday service. The palms represent the palm branches the crowd scattered before Jesus as he traveled into Jerusalem. After Palm Sunday, the palms are kept and burned. The burnt fronds are mixed with holy water and oil to create the Ash Wednesday ashes.