Ash Wednesday is a colloquial name derived from the practice of placing ashes in the shape of a cross on the foreheads of adherents as a sign of mourning and repentance to God. Ash Wednesday originated in the A.D. 900s; long after Europe had been Christianized and the pagan cults stamped out.
Following Shrove Tuesday 2013, and features Mardi Gras 2013 celebrations, Ash Wednesday 2013(in the calendar of Western Christianity) is the first day of Lent 2013 (the liturgical season) 46 days before Easter and forty days before Good Friday. It can occur as early as the 4th of February (5th of February on leap years) or as late as the 10th of March. It is a movable feast, falling on a different date each year. We have two ways to determine Ash Wednesday 2013:
1-Easter Day is always used to determine Ash Wednesday: Ash Wednesday this year 2013 is at the 13th of February, we just need to subtract 46 days from Easter Day 2013.
2. Using length of Lent 2013: The commemoration of Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of the forty-day season of Lent, without Sunday. We will have six Sunday during each Lent.
A Christian traditional custom, Ash Wednesday 2013 is the time for fasting and a day to remind our mortality and our need to repent before this life is over and we face our Judge. Some faithful light candles and offer prayers after receiving the cross of ash on their foreheads in observance of Ash Wednesday.