I had the telly on this morning, and they were interviewing a priest. "What an unfortunate birthmark" thought I on seeing the black smudge on his forhead, "surely they could have covered that up with some makeup?"
Later they were talking to someone else who had a similar mark. And then when I was walking to work past the church I saw a group of people coming out, all with the same marks on their forheads – I figred by now that it must have something to do with Ash Wednesday.
According to Wikipedia "At masses and services of worship on this day, worshippers are blessed with ashes by the celebrating priest or minister.
The priest or minister marks the forehead of each participant with
black ashes, in the shape of a cross, which the worshipper
traditionally retains until washing it off after sundown."
I wasn’t in Dublin last Ash Wednesday so this is my first encounter with this particular ritual. Learn something new every day!