Catholics trooped to churches in their homeland and their host countries overseas to have their foreheads marked with ash in the shape of a cross on Ash Wednesday.
It marks the start of Lent or the 40-day season commemorating the Passion of Jesus Christ. Where does the ash come from you might ask?
It comes from the ashes of previous year’s “palaspas” that was burned. The ashes are sprinkled with holy water or oil and smoked with incense.
The priest or a lay minister will say, “Repent and believe in the Gospel,” or, “Remember, man, that you are dust and unto dust you shall return” while applying the ashes on the forehead.
It signifies mourning and repentance and serves as a reminder that man comes from dust and to dust he will return.
Catholics are also obliged to abstain from eating meat and to fast. Majority of Filipinos belong to the Catholic church.