Do many people in your area get ashes on Ash Wednesday?

It’s a very common sight here although much less so than in the past. I’ve never been in another country on Ash Wednesday so I dunno how common a sight it is elsewhere.


We’ve got a fair number of Catholics in Houston.

Only the Catholics seem to get it around here. It’s a rare sight to see someone with ashes the whole day. (Maybe the non-Catholics simply wipe off their forehead after services?)

I’d say probably 40% of the Christian population of Springfield is Catholic, so yeah, lots and lots of ashes on Ash Wednesday. They usually wear off pretty quickly.

I would say no, since I have never seen this. Do you mean crosses on the forehead or something? (Like this?)

Very common in Phoenix. There is a very large Roman Catholic population here and even my Episcopal church is having 3 Ash Wednesday services today.

I saw quite a few last year. Haven’t seen any today though.

Now that I am in California, no.

But I lived in Chicago for awhile, which has a lot of Catholics, and it was common there. The first Ash Wednesday I was there, I was like “why does everyone have dirt on their foreheads?”. My coworkers explained it to me. I had heard of Ash Wednesday, but not the tradition of ashes on the forehead. (BTW, I am 50% of Irish Catholic descent…my ancestors must be rolling in their graves. :p)

No one in my office that I’ve seen has them today.

This non-Catholic will be attending a United Methodist service (with ashes) this evening, after which she will attend a choir rehearsal and come straight home to bed.

There was one year I can think of where I went grocery shopping after the service, but usually I’ve attended evening services.

As to whether ashes are common in my area, well, I don’t think I saw any at work today, but maybe I just wasn’t watching foreheads enough.

Half the population here in Ontario is Catholic, including my wife and kids, and I had to look at Wiki to figure what “get ashes” meant.

I really don’t think I can possibly be that unobservant!

Yeah, usually a much smaller smudge/cross. It sometimes looks like a person’s been bruised on the forehead.

I didn’t know it was restricted to just Catholics. I thought other Christians did it too?

We don’t have a lot of Catholics here - last year we were in the middle of the mayoral campaign and had an event that night, and one of us had ashes on her forehead and our campaign manager was all upset “Hey, you have some dirt on your forehead. You really need to go to the bathroom NOW and wipe it off!” I said, “Hey, ___ is Catholic.” And she had NO IDEA. An educated person!

The Episcopal Church observes Ash Wednesday.

Yes, common here. I saw plenty of them yesterday. But perhaps I was more conscious of it because I also had ashes on my forehead.

This is the buckle of the Bible Belt, but most folks are Baptist or other evangelical denominations that don’t observe Lent. Last year I went to a noon Ash Wednesday service and got weird looks the rest of the day.

I haven’t gotten mine yet, the service is at 7:00 PM.

Skammer - Which parish did you go to that had a noon Ash Wednesday service?


I think I’ve also seen it done with some High Anglicans here in England.

I haven’t seen any at all today, but it was pretty common when I worked in Boston.

The place I live now is heavily Anglican and other flavours of Christianity. I got lots and lots of stares for my ashes. I thought that some Anglican churches did ashes, but the only other people I’ve seen today with ashes were at mass with me.

Very few. According to wiki I live in one of the two least religious states in the US, with only 23% of people of any religion attending weekly services, and when you figure that only a bit over a third of those who identify as Christian in NH are Caltholic…