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Come to think of it, I've never had a really good explanation on why Ashes on our foreheads on Ash Wednesday at the start of Lent.
I've always thought of "from ashes we came, to ashes we will end". A reminder that our time on earth will come to pass no matter what. That our souls should look beyond this world to eternity with God in "paradise". Many a times, fully understanding the symbolism and culture of why we do what we do always gives greater meaning and appreciation.

Why ashes [on Ash Wednesday]?

"The people of the Old Testament used ashes as a sign of mourning (Esther 4:1-3, Job 42:6, Jeremiah 6:26). Even today, ashes are considered a symbol of death and of nothingness. Ashes remind us of our helplessness and dependence on God. They remind us of our need to mourn our sinful nature, to feel contrition, and to repent so that we may receive God’s forgiveness. They are a symbol of sinfulness and of our commitment to spiritual renewal."

Why should I observe Lent? What purpose would it serve?

"It is a call to prepare for Easter. During this period of serious reflection, you spend time in self-examination and spiritual redirection. It is a time for you to acknowledge your shortcomings and to seek forgiveness for where you have fallen in your faith. Lent offers you the opportunity to seek spiritual renewal through the practice of prayer and self-denial."

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