Ash Wednesday

Scene in Ethiopia

What is Ash Wednesday?

Ash Wednesday is the first day of Lent and this year it falls on 2 March.

It is the first day of the Lenten fast which will hold until Eastertide and because of this, it is a day associated with prayer, reflection, sacrifice, and repentance.

Ash Wednesday History/Tradition

The day gets its name from the tradition of having a cross marked in ash on worshippers’ foreheads. As this is done, the person marking the cross will declare, ‘from the dust you came, and to the dust, you shall return’.

Traditionally, the ashes used to mark the cross are prepared by burning palm leaves from the previous year’s Palm Sunday celebrations.

‘Even the darkest moments of the liturgy are filled with joy, and Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the Lenten fast, is a day of happiness, a Christian feast’  Thomas Merton, monk, writer, and social activist.

Prayer for Ash Wednesday

God of each moment,
On this Ash Wednesday,
We commit this season of Lent to you.
As we remember your journey into the wilderness,
We see the wildernesses in our own lives, communities and world:
The wilderness of poverty, of racism, of gender injustice, climate grief and vaccine inequality.
In the wilderness,
Amongst all the uncertainty and fear,
Come Lord Jesus.
In this Lenten season, as we make our preparations to celebrate your resurrection,
Show us how to be a people who are taking part in little resurrections every day.
Come Lord Jesus.


This Lenten season, All We Can have partnered with Methodist Women in Britain to bring you ‘Let Wisdom Speak’. Join us as we listen to the voices of women from across the world seeking justice in their communities and beyond.

To find out more about ‘Let Wisdom Speak’, click here

You can also join us on Tuesday 8 March at 7pm for a special online launch event to mark International Women’s Day and celebrate women’s voices from around the world, and then every following Tuesday throughout Lent for our online Study Group. To register for a place, click here