This year it falls on February 13th. Our foreheads are marked with black ashes, while "Remember that thou art dust, and to dust thou shalt return." (Genesis 3:19) is recited. Non-catholics are invited to receive the ash marks as well: you can drop in at any service around the globe and stand in line for the ashes.
It's refreshing to be reminded of our humble simple births - all naked - and the ultimate return to the elements of earth. It's somehow very liberating to remember that everything in between is a GIFT :-)
And, yes, Granger, I will join you: I'll be giving up alcohol & sweets (except for March 17/ St P day ;-)
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