This year, Ash Wednesday takes place on February 14, 2024, coinciding with Valentine’s Day. Those who plan to get ashes will go to a church service and receive the ash crosses on their foreheads. The ashes are meant to symbolize both death and repentance in order to begin Lent in a solemn, humble way. All around the world, different cultures celebrate in different ways.

Learn about the meaning of the cross of ashes with National Geographic