ash wednesday

it is another mingling of paganism and christianity- the people were told to commit whatever debauchery during the mardi gras festival and then show thier repentance by having their local priest smear ashes on their foreheads in a ceremony the wednsday after mardi gras followed by lent- as season were parisheners do penance by agreeing to abstain from some agreed items for 40 days- in the past t they were required to skip eating "meat on fridays" as their church had controlloing interest in the fish markets and used this ploy to fund itself- even though that rule has been abolished for some time most traditional folks still practice it.
If it wasn't for the MONEY it brings in I don't believe there would be one city in the country that would put up with the wild, drunken mess that is carnival

Here are two links that may explian more about the whole mess- one is pro and one is con-you can decide: