March 6, 2019 is Ash Wednesday, which marks the beginning of the Lenten Season. The practice of imposing ashes on the foreheads of the faithful is normally done during Ash Wednesday, reminding us that it is a special time for repentance.
According to the Gospels, Jesus Christ spent 40 days fasting in the desert, where he endured temptation by Satan; accordingly, the Lenten Season was first observed as a period of fasting for 40 days in preparation for Easter.
Ash Wednesday and Good Friday are obligatory days of fasting and abstinence for Catholics. In addition, Fridays during Lent are obligatory days of abstinence. For members of the Latin Catholic Church, the norms on fasting are obligatory from age 18 until age 59. When fasting, a person is permitted to eat one full meal, as well as two smaller meals that together are not equal to a full meal. The norms concerning abstinence from meat are binding upon members of the Latin Catholic Church from age 14 onwards.