For many believers — like these at west Salt Lake City’s Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church — Ash Wednesday marks, quite literally, the start of Christianity’s holiest season.
It falls on the seventh Wednesday before Easter and kicks off Lent.
Followers — including Roman Catholics, Anglicans, Episcopalians and Lutherans — put ashes on their foreheads as an outward symbol of their penitence.
This year, Western Christians will celebrate Easter on April 21. Eastern Orthodox devotees will do so a week later, on April 28.