AP PHOTOS: Ash Wednesday celebrated worldwide

The Associated Press
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A churchgoer, who received ashes on his forehead, stands near a painting depicting Jesus Christ inside the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary during an Ash Wednesday Mass in Baltimore, Wednesday, March 5, 2014. Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of the Lenten season, a time when Christians commit to acts of penitence and prayer in preparation for Easter Sunday. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

Millions of Christians around the world will be seen with ashes in the form of a cross on their foreheads Wednesday as they celebrate the first day of Lent. Ash Wednesday, as it is called, is 46 days before Easter, which includes six Sundays. For Christians, so begins a 40-day period of prayer and fasting, or abstaining from a particular food they like; The six Sundays during this are not included in the fasting period.

Ashes are placed on the forehead as a reminder of mortality and repentance of sins. As a sign of their faith, many Christians leave them on all day. A photo gallery showcasing a handful of Ash Wednesday services and images from around the world: