The day after the big clean-out of Shrove Tuesday (where you are ‘shriven’!) comes Ash Wednesday. This event is the start of Lent and is marked at a service where people are marked with a sign of the cross from ash. The ashes are usually from burnt palm crosses from the year before.
Events in the church calendar like this are important to many people as they recall the ‘marker posts’ of the life of faith, especially as they circle around the highpoint in the Christian calendar which is Easter. ‘Rites of passage’, with the associated memories give our lives a grounding which allows us to face life with meaning and purpose.