Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent, when many Catholics will attend mass and receive a cross on their forehead made of ashes burned from the previous years’ Palm Sunday crosses. Following Shrove Tuesday, Lent marks a period of abstinence and fasting before Easter celebrations.
Technically Lent lasts for 46 days, from Ash Wednesday to Holy Saturday. Each Sunday is not included in this period of fasting or abstinence by many Catholic communities, however, as the day is used to commemorate the resurrection of Christ and is given over to celebrations and feasting. The 40 days of Lent is generally seen as marking the time Jesus spent fasting in the wilderness.
Rio Carnival, Mardi Gras and Pancake Day are all connected