Ash Wednesday is the first of day of the Lenten season in the Church calendar. It is 40days excluding Sundays which is not included because it is the day of the Lord's resurrection(Lord's day) from Easter Sunday. The number "40" is a special number in Christiandom which also correlates with the number of days Christ spent in the wilderness. This day is usually marked by Episcopal/Orthodox churches with Mass/Service. It is a solemn day not a feast hence it is WRONG to say "Happy Ash Wednesday".
Ash gotten from burning last year's palm fronds is usually applied on the foreheads of the faithful on this day. It signifies the following:
1. Act of mourning: in biblical Jewish practice,a sinner pours ash on his body and puts on sack Cloth to seek the forgiveness on God (Jonah 3:5-6). Likewise on this day we mourn our going away from God's commands and seek his forgiveness. That is why the Priest/deacon when putting the ashes says the words "Repent, and believe in the Gospel".
2. To remind you that the earth is not your final home:
The Priest/deacon may also say the words, "DUST YOU ARE AND DUST YOU SHALL RETURN". This serves as a reminder not to be carried away by things of this word and to remember the things of the world to come in which you will be judged by the decisions you made here on earth.
2. Fasting & Abstinence
3. Absolute Repentance
1. PRAYERS: Praying is the act of communicating with God. On this day make it a point of duty to communicate quietly with God like a child to a loving Father. Pray as much as possible today as that differentiates your fasting from an ordinary weight loss exercise. Seek for the forgiveness of your sins and pray for His grace to be a better Christian. A nice way to do it is to set a time and commit to it so as not to be carried by work e.g hourly or every 3 hours etc. Attending Mass/service is also a form of prayer and especially receiving the Holy communion today. Remember Jesus' teaching on prayer as he said in Matt 6:5-8 "When you pray, do not be like the hypocrites. They love to stand and pray in the synagogues or on the street corners to be seen by everyone. I assure you, they have already been paid in full. When you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father who is with you in secret; and your father who sees what you do in secret will reward you. When you pray, do not use a lot of words, as the Gentiles do, for they imagine that the more they say, the more chance they have of being heard. Do not be like them. Your Father knows what you need, even before you ask him".