On your drive to work or commute to school you might have heard someone talking about it being Ash Wednesday. Maybe you've heard the term before and can't remember quite what it is - or maybe you've just literally never heard those words uttered at all.
For anyone curious about the holiday, Ash Wednesday is always the 7th Wednesday before Easter and marks the start of the Christian practice of Lent. If all those words sound foreign to you- let me further explain.
In the Christian religion, Lent is the 40 days before Easter where many believe in fasting or giving up certain luxuries in order to replicate the sacrifice that Jesus Christ endured while fasting in the desert for 40 days. This symbolic gesture starts on Ash Wednesday and goes all the way up until Easter.
People can give up anything from foods like chocolate and candy, activities you enjoy, or even vices like drinking and smoking. The idea is that it's somewhat of a sacrifice to stop doing this specific thing.
The holiday Ash Wednesday has been named that because it come from the practice of putting 'repentance ashes' on participants' foreheads or sprinkling it in their hair as a sign of a asking god for forgiveness and displaying devotion.
It all amounts to being a reminder to Christians that they started out as ashes and dust and will eventually make their way back there so you better get right with god - a little morbid but its the tradition.