Why is the signing done with ashes?
Because ashes are a biblical symbol of mourning and penance. In Bible times the custom was to fast, wear sackcloth, sit in dust and ashes, and put dust and ashes on one's head. While we no longer normally wear sackcloth or sit in dust and ashes, the customs of fasting and putting ashes on one's forehead as a sign of mourning and penance have survived to this day. These are two of the key distinctions of Lent. In fact, Ash Wednesday is a day not only for putting ashes on one's head, but also a day of fasting.
Next: Is there another significance to the ashes?
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