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Ash Wednesday 2013: Lent Begins Around The World (PHOTOS)

Ash Wednesday 2013

First Posted: 02/13/13 EST Updated: 02/13/13 EST

Christians around the world observe Ash Wednesday today marking the first day of Lent, a period of fasting, prayer and repentance based on the 40 days Jesus spent fasting in the desert. Lent ends with the Celebration of Easter.

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  • Pope Benedict Receives Ashes

    Cardinal Angelo Comastri puts ash on Pope Benedict XVI's head during the celebration of Ash Wednesday mass in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2013. Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent, a solemn period of 40 days of prayer and self-denial leading up to Easter. Pope Benedict XVI told thousands of faithful Wednesday that he was resigning for "the good of the church", an extraordinary scene of a pope explaining himself to his flock that unfolded in his first appearance since dropping the bombshell announcement. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

  • Pope Benedict Celebrates Mass On Ash Wednesday

    Pope Benedict XVI holds up the host as he celebrates the Ash Wednesday mass in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2013. Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent, a solemn period of 40 days of prayer and self-denial leading up to Easter. Pope Benedict XVI told thousands of faithful Wednesday that he was resigning for "the good of the church", an extraordinary scene of a pope explaining himself to his flock that unfolded in his first appearance since dropping the bombshell announcement. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

  • Pope Observes Ash Wednesday at St. Peters

    Pope Benedict XVI blesses the ashes as he celebrates the Ash Wednesday mass in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2013. Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent, a solemn period of 40 days of prayer and self-denial leading up to Easter. Pope Benedict XVI told thousands of faithful Wednesday that he was resigning for "the good of the church", an extraordinary scene of a pope explaining himself to his flock that unfolded in his first appearance since dropping the bombshell announcement. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

  • Pope Observes Ash Wednesday at St. Peters

    Pope Benedict XVI arrives in St. Peter's Basilica on the occasion of the celebration of Ash Wednesday mass at the Vatican, Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2013. Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent, a solemn period of 40 days of prayer and self-denial leading up to Easter. Pope Benedict XVI told thousands of faithful Wednesday that he was resigning for "the good of the church", an extraordinary scene of a pope explaining himself to his flock that unfolded in his first appearance since dropping the bombshell announcement. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

  • Pope Observes Ash Wednesday at St. Peters

    Pope Benedict XVI arrives in St. Peter's Basilica on the occasion of the celebration of Ash Wednesday mass at the Vatican, Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2013. Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent, a solemn period of 40 days of prayer and self-denial leading up to Easter. Pope Benedict XVI told thousands of faithful Wednesday that he was resigning for "the good of the church", an extraordinary scene of a pope explaining himself to his flock that unfolded in his first appearance since dropping the bombshell announcement. (AP Photo/Alessandro Bianchi, Pool)

  • Ash Wednesday In Honduras

    A Catholic faithful participates in a ceremony during Ash Wednesday in Tegucigalpa, on February 13, 2013. Ash Wednesday initiates Lent, that culminates in the Holy Week. AFP PHOTO/Orlando SIERRA. (Photo credit should read ORLANDO SIERRA/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Ash Wednesday in Virginia

    Lent begins early Wednesday morning, February 13, 2013, for Beth Zaletski as she receives ashes outside of the Starbucks Coffee on Colley Avenue in Norfolk, Va. The Rev. Win Lewis, rector at Christ and St. Luke's Episcopal Church in Norfolk, administers the Ash Wednesday blessing as part of the Ashes to Go movement aimed at taking Ash Wednesday worship outside of the church. (AP Photo/The Virginian-Pilot, Vicki Cronis-Nohe) MAGS OUT

  • Ash Wednesday In Honduras

    A Catholic faithful participates in a ceremony during Ash Wednesday in Tegucigalpa, on February 13, 2013. Ash Wednesday initiates Lent, that culminates in the Holy Week. AFP PHOTO/Orlando SIERRA. (Photo credit should read ORLANDO SIERRA/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Ash Wednesday In Honduras

    A Catholic faithful participate in a ceremony during Ash Wednesday in Tegucigalpa, on February 13, 2013. Ash Wednesday initiates Lent, that culminates in the Holy Week. AFP PHOTO/Orlando SIERRA. (Photo credit should read ORLANDO SIERRA/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Ash Wednesday In Honduras

    Catholic faithful participate in a ceremony during Ash Wednesday in Tegucigalpa, on February 13, 2013. Ash Wednesday initiates Lent, that culminates in the Holy Week. AFP PHOTO/Orlando SIERRA. (Photo credit should read ORLANDO SIERRA/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Ash Wednesday In Philippines

    Filipino Roman Catholic nuns and lay leaders rub the sign of the cross with ashes on the foreheads of worshipers in observance of "Ash Wednesday" which ushers the 45-day Lenten Season Wednesday Feb. 13, 2013 in Manila, Philippines. The Lent is observed by Catholics through fasting, reflection, repentance and spiritual discipline and also to remind mankind of being mortals. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)

  • Palms to Ashes

    SALISBURY, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 05: Young probationers, trainee choristers at Salisbury Cathedral Choir, burn last year's Palm Sunday crosses to mark next week's Shrove Tuesday and create ash that will be used in the following day's Ash Wednesday service, outside the Canon Precentor house, close to the 13th century Salisbury Cathedral on February 5, 2013 in Salisbury, England. The trainee choristers had to celebrate and learn about Shrove Tuesday a week early as they will be on half-term on pancake day next week. Every year the choristers make pancakes to learn about the meaning of Shrove Tuesday, which is traditionally the day that all fats and flesh are eaten up to prepare for the forty days fast of Lent. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

  • Palms to Ashes

    SALISBURY, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 05: Young probationers, trainee choristers at Salisbury Cathedral Choir, burn last year's Palm Sunday crosses to mark next week's Shrove Tuesday and create ash that will be used in the following day's Ash Wednesday service, outside the Canon Precentor house, close to the 13th century Salisbury Cathedral on February 5, 2013 in Salisbury, England. The trainee choristers had to celebrate and learn about Shrove Tuesday a week early as they will be on half-term on pancake day next week. Every year the choristers make pancakes to learn about the meaning of Shrove Tuesday, which is traditionally the day that all fats and flesh are eaten up to prepare for the forty days fast of Lent. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

  • Ash Wednesday In Nigeria

    John Paul a Catholic priest rubs the sign of the cross with ash on the forehead of a worshiper on Ash Wednesday at the church of Assumption in Lagos, Nigeria, Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2013. Ash Wednesday is the first day of Lent, the season of fasting, reflection, repentance and spiritual discipline observed by Catholics. (AP Photo/Sunday Alamba)

  • Ash Wednesday In Nigeria

    A Catholic faithful with the sign of the cross in ash made on her forehead, leaves after a mass to mark the beginning of Ash Wednesday at the church of the Assumption in Lagos, Nigeria, Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2013. Ash Wednesday is the first day of Lent, the season of fasting, reflection, repentance and spiritual discipline observed by Catholics. (AP Photo/Sunday Alamba)

  • Ash Wednesday In Nigeria

    A mother and child walk away from Catholic priest John Paul as he rubs the sign of the cross with ash on the forehead of a worshiper on Ash Wednesday at the church of Assumption in Lagos, Nigeria, Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2013. Ash Wednesday is the first day of Lent, the season of fasting, reflection, repentance and spiritual discipline observed by Catholics. (AP Photo/Sunday Alamba)

  • Preparations For Ash Wednesday Service at St. Peters

    Pope Benedict XVI's chair is removed from the altar prior to the start of the celebration of Ash Wednesday mass in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2013. Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent, a solemn period of 40 days of prayer and self-denial leading up to Easter. Pope Benedict XVI told thousands of faithful Wednesday that he was resigning for "the good of the church", an extraordinary scene of a pope explaining himself to his flock that unfolded in his first appearance since dropping the bombshell announcement. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

  • Line For St. Peter's Ash Wednesday Service

    People stand in a line to enter St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican to attend an Ash Wednesday mass celebrated by Pope Benedict XVI, Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2013. With a few words in Latin, Pope Benedict XVI did what no pope has done in more than half a millennium, stunning the world by announcing his resignation Monday and leaving the already troubled Catholic Church to replace the leader of its 1 billion followers by Easter. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)

  • Ash Wednesday In Michigan

    George Marvaso, 70, of Novi, Mich., has ashes placed on his forehead while in his car by Rev. June M. Marshall of the Novi United Methodist Church for Ash Wednesday Feb. 13, 2013. Photos by Charles V. Tines, The Detroit News (AP Photo/Detroit News, Charles V. Tines) DETROIT FREE PRESS OUT; HUFFINGTON POST OUT

  • Ash Wednesday Alabama

    Cerese Sweeley kneels as she receives the Imposition of Ashes from Rev. Sherry Harris early Wednesday morning, Feb. 13, 2013 at Wesley Memorial United Methodist Church in Decatur, Ala. (AP Photo/The Decatur Daily, John Godbey)

  • Ash Wednesday In London

    A member of the faithful has her forehead marked with black ashes in the sign of the cross during a Mass for Ash Wednesday at Westminster Cathedral in London, which is the Mother Church for Roman Catholics in England and Wales, Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2013. The Vatican says Pope Benedict XVI will spend his final day as pontiff on Feb. 28, attending a morning farewell ceremony with his cardinals, then fly off by helicopter in the early evening to his papal summer residence in Castel Gandolfo. That timetable means Benedict will be far from the Vatican when he ceases being pope at 8 p.m. on that day. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

  • Ash Wednesday In Jerusalem

    A priest gives holy communion to a nun during mass at a church Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem’s Old City to mark Ash Wednesday, which launches the traditional period of penitence ahead of Easter in the Christian calendar, on February 13, 2013. The Catholic Church faced a tricky transition on Tuesday as it prepared to elect a new pope, with many faithful still reeling from the shock resignation of Pope Benedict XVI. AFP PHOTO/AHMAD GHARABLI (Photo credit should read AHMAD GHARABLI/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Ash Wednesday In Jerusalem

    A priest celebrates mass at a church Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem’s Old City to mark Ash Wednesday, which launches the traditional period of penitence ahead of Easter in the Christian calendar, on February 13, 2013. The Catholic Church faced a tricky transition on Tuesday as it prepared to elect a new pope, with many faithful still reeling from the shock resignation of Pope Benedict XVI. AFP PHOTO/AHMAD GHARABLI (Photo credit should read AHMAD GHARABLI/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Ash Wednesday In Philippines

    Roman Catholics devotees light candles at a church as the country marks Ash Wednesday, the official beginning of the Christian Lenten season in Manila on February 13, 2013. The ash symbolizes the mortality of human beings. About 80 percent of Filipinos are Catholics and there has been speculation among some faithful that a Filipino cardinal could be chosen to succeed Pope Benedict XVI. AFP PHOTO / Jay DIRECTO (Photo credit should read JAY DIRECTO/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Ash Wednesday In Philippines

    A Filipino Roman Catholic nun rubs the sign of the cross with ashes on the forehead of a worshiper in observance of "Ash Wednesday" which ushers the 45-day Lenten Season Wednesday Feb. 13, 2013 in Manila, Philippines. The Lent is observed by Catholics through fasting, reflection, repentance and spiritual discipline and also to remind mankind of being mortals. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)

  • Ash Wednesday In Philippines

    Filipino Roman Catholic Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, the Archbishop of Manila, emerges from a chapel after celebrating a mass in observance of "Ash Wednesday" which ushers the 45-day Lenten Season Wednesday Feb. 13, 2013 in Manila, Philippines. Cardinal Tagle, is the only Filipino cardinal who is eligible to vote and be voted in the conclave by College of Cardinals to succeed Pope Benedict XVI, who resigned two days ago. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)

  • Ash Wednesday In Philippines

    A Filipino Roman Catholic nun rubs the sign of the cross with ashes on the forehead of a worshiper in observance of "Ash Wednesday" which ushers the 45-day Lenten Season Wednesday Feb. 13, 2013 in Manila, Philippines. The Lent is observed by Catholics through fasting, reflection, repentance and spiritual discipline and also to remind mankind of being mortals. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)

  • Ash Wednesday In Philippines

    Filipino Roman Catholic nuns and lay leaders rub the sign of the cross with ashes on the foreheads of worshipers in observance of "Ash Wednesday" which ushers the 45-day Lenten Season Wednesday Feb. 13, 2013 in Manila, Philippines. The Lent is observed by Catholics through fasting, reflection, repentance and spiritual discipline and also to remind mankind of being mortals. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)

  • Ash Wednesday In India

    An Indian Catholic Christian woman holds a rosary and prays on Ash Wednesday at Saint Mary's Basilica in Hyderabad, India, Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2013. Ash Wednesday is the first day of Lent, the season of fasting, reflection, repentance and spiritual discipline observed by Catholics. (AP Photo/Mahesh Kumar A.)

  • Ash Wednesday In India

    Indian Catholic Christian women offer prayers on Ash Wednesday at Saint Mary's Basilica in Hyderabad, India, Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2013. Ash Wednesday is the first day of Lent, the season of fasting, reflection, repentance and spiritual discipline observed by Catholics. (AP Photo/Mahesh Kumar A.)

  • Ash Wednesday In Belarus

    A Belarusian Catholic priest sprinkles ashes on the head of the faithful in the observance of Ash Wednesday, the official start of the Catholic Church's solemn Lenten season, in Cathedral Catholic Church in Minsk, Belarus, Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2013. (AP Photo/Sergei Grits)