Ash Wednesday 2017
Ash Wednesday falls on 1 March Reuters

Christians around the globe will observe Ash Wednesday on 1 March, which marks the first day of Lent. During the 40-day period of fasting, prayer and repentance in preparation for Easter, Christians strive to imitate Jesus Christ's actions and reflect on his life, death and resurrection.

On Ash Wednesday, Christian churches hold services during which the attendees' are marked on the forehead with a cross of ashes. Usually this is accompanied by the words: "Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return", or sometimes, "Repent, and believe in the Gospel".

This is a sign of repentance for sins committed, and the ashes come from burning the palm crosses from Palm Sunday of the year before.

On the occasion, IBTimes Singapore has hand-picked top Bible quotes and sayings to mark the day.

  • "By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return." - Genesis 3:9
  • "I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you; therefore I despise myself, and repent in dust and ashes." - Job 42:5-6
  • "And Tamar put ashes on her head and tore the long robe that she wore. And she laid her hand on her head and went away, crying aloud as she went." - 2 Samuel 13:19
  • "And when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, that your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you." - Matthew 6:16-18
  • "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him." - John 3:16-17

Sayings from prominent personalities:

  1. "As Lent is the time for greater love, listen to Jesus' thirst...'Repent and believe' Jesus tells us. What are we to repent? Our indifference, our hardness of heart. What are we to believe? Jesus thirsts even now, in your heart and in the poor -- He knows your weakness. He wants only your love, wants only the chance to love you." - Saint Teresa of Calcutta
  2. "Lent comes providentially to reawaken us, to shake us from our lethargy." - Pope Francis
  3. "Lent stimulates us to let the Word of God penetrate our life and in this way to know the fundamental truth: who we are, where we come from, where we must go, what path we must take in life..." - Pope Benedict XVI
  4. "Remember that lent and ash Wednesday is not just about putting away the bad things. It is about creating good things and helping the poor and the needy, being kind to people and much more." - Jacob Winters
  5. "As you mourn for your sins and weaknesses this Ash Wednesday through fasting, mourning and weeping, may you be truly transformed from your heart." - John Tribes