Ash Wednesday, this year on 26 February, marks the beginning of Lent - the 40 day period (excluding Sundays) which leads up to Easter. Sundays are excluded as they are always considered a day of celebration.
In the early church, Lent was a time to prepare new converts for baptism. Now it is still an important time in the Christian calendar when many Christians prepare for Easter with a period which includes self-examination, reflection and maybe fasting or self-denial (often giving up something like chocolate or social networks!) but can also be the giving of what is precious to most people - time. Time to volunteer to do something, to make a phone call or visit to someone ill or lonely - just the giving of self for others.
The forty days represent the time Jesus spent in the wilderness fasting and praying in solitude while enduring the temptations of Satan.
See Home page for Tuesday Fellowship Lent series details.