The day after Shrove Tuesday, Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent, a 40 days fasting period that leads up to Easter on 16 April. On this day many Christians head to church and receive ashes on their foreheads to symbolise the vanity of life. Lent is a period were you work on your disciplines such as prayer, fasting, abstinence and work on your relationship with God as you repent for your past sins. This is to reflect the forty days that Jesus spent in the dessert being tested by Satan before starting his ministry.
The colour purple is associated with Lent due to it symbolising the traditional color of mourning, for Jesus’ Death and also to symbolise royalty, which was Jesus’ coming as King. Therefore purple altar cloths and purple priest’s garments are used during this time.
During the Lent period many Christians use the time committing to fasting or giving up certain foods, luxuries or habits such as meat, cakes and sweets, alcohol and smoking. This is done as a form of penitence to prepare for Easter Celebrations and it always begins on Ash Wednesday. There are in fact 46 days between Ash Wednesday and Easter, however the six Sundays that are within the period of Lent are not fast days as Sundays are always feast days in the Christian calendar.