For believers — like these at Salt Lake City’s majestic Cathedral of the Madeleine, the only Catholic cathedral in the nation named for Mary Magdalene — 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 12. Eastern Orthodox devotees will do so a week later, on April 19.