Ash Wednesday is the first day of Lent in the Christian tradition. Lent is a time for fasting and prayer that begins 46 days prior to Easter. It represents the 40 days Jesus Christ spent fasting in the desert. Special church services are also held. Priests will often place a cross of blessed ash on the foreheads of worshippers to remind them of their sins. Traditionally, these ashes came from the palm branches which had been blessed on the previous year’s Palm Sunday. This is what gives Ash Wednesday its name.