RELIGION

Here's What Ash Wednesday Looks Like Around The World

From India to Colombia, here's how Christians celebrated Ash Wednesday this year.

Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent, a 40-day period of reflection and renewal in the Christian calendar. In 2016, the holy day falls on Feb. 10, and Christians around the world attend services at their local churches on this day.

In some denominations, priests will place ashes in the shape of a cross on the foreheads of their parishioners. The ashes are traditionally the burned remains of Palm Sunday leaves used in the previous year. 

While distributing ashes, priests will often recite the Bible verse from Genesis 3:19, which God told Adam while sending mankind out of the Garden of Eden, "You are dust, and to dust you shall return.” The scripture and the ritual together present a powerful reminder to worshippers of their own mortality and the hope that comes with the Christian belief in the resurrection.

In honor of Ash Wednesday, HuffPost Religion has gathered photos of Christians around the world observing Ash Wednesday.  

  • A woman listens to Republican presidential candidate Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) during a campaign rally in Columbia, South Carol
    Chip Somodevilla via Getty Images
    A woman listens to Republican presidential candidate Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) during a campaign rally in Columbia, South Carolina. 
  • Honduras
    Catholic faithful participate in the Ash Wednesday mass at the San Miguel Arcangel Cathedral in Tegucigalpa, Honduras.
    ORLANDO SIERRA via Getty Images
    Catholic faithful participate in the Ash Wednesday mass at the San Miguel Arcangel Cathedral in Tegucigalpa, Honduras.
  • United Kingdom
    Rival teams 'Up'ards' and 'Down'ards' battle for the ball during the second day of the Royal Shrovetide Football match in Ash
    Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
    Rival teams 'Up'ards' and 'Down'ards' battle for the ball during the second day of the Royal Shrovetide Football match in Ashbourne, Derbyshire, England. For two days, over Shrove Tuesday and Ash Wednesday, hundreds of participants battle it out in a 'no rules' game dating back to the 17th Century where the aim is to get a ball into one of two goals that are positioned three miles apart at either end of Ashbourne.
  • Germany
    Members of the so-called 'Geldwaeschergilde' (money launderer guild) wash their wallets in a fountain as they mourn over the
    PATRICK SEEGER via Getty Images
    Members of the so-called 'Geldwaeschergilde' (money launderer guild) wash their wallets in a fountain as they mourn over the end of the carnival season on Ash Wednesday in Wolfach, southern Germany. In many cities and villages of southwestern Germany, carnival enthusiasts traditionally wash and dry the wallets they have emptied during the days leading up to Ash Wednesday.
  • Hungary
    Christians wait in queue to receive ashes given by Father Attila Farkas (not pictured) during a mass in the St Stephan B
    ATTILA KISBENEDEK via Getty Images
    Christians wait in queue to receive ashes given by Father Attila Farkas (not pictured) during a mass in the St Stephan Basilica in Budapest, Hungary. 
  • Philippines
    Roman Catholic faithful have their religious ornaments blessed by a bishop (not pictured) during Ash Wednesday services.&nbsp
    TED ALJIBE via Getty Images
    Roman Catholic faithful have their religious ornaments blessed by a bishop (not pictured) during Ash Wednesday services. The Philippines is Asia's bastion of Catholicism, with over 80 percent of the more than 100 million population belonging to the faith.
  • East Timor
    East Timorese Catholics queue up to attend a mass to celebrate Ash Wednesday in Dili.
    VALENTINO DARIEL SOUSA via Getty Images
    East Timorese Catholics queue up to attend a mass to celebrate Ash Wednesday in Dili.
  • India
    The Archbishop of Hyderabad, Thumma Bala (R) marks the symbol of the cross with ash on the forehead of a young Christian devo
    NOAH SEELAM via Getty Images
    The Archbishop of Hyderabad, Thumma Bala (R) marks the symbol of the cross with ash on the forehead of a young Christian devotee during an Ash Wednesday service at Saint Mary's Basilica in Secunderabad, the twin city of Hyderabad.

 

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