Christians Mark Ash Wednesday, the Beginning of Lent

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) - It's one of the topics of conversation around many offices today.  What are you giving up for Lent?

Some of the common responses are chocolate, caffeine, chips or alcohol.  Others include making an effort to volunteer more, be less selfish or try to curse less.

Some are making a commitment to sign off social media for the next 40 days.

Others who aren't religious say they're using this time to reflect on life and make certain changes.

Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent, a 40-day season of fasting leading up to Holy Week, ending on Easter Sunday.  This annual time commemorates Jesus' own 40 days of fasting in the desert.

When you think of Ash Wednesday you might think of Catholics.  However, many denominations have special services on Ash Wednesday, including Episcopalians, Lutherans and United Methodists. They receive ashes on their foreheads in the sign of a cross.

The ashes typically come from palms distributed the previous year on Palm Sunday.