East Texas observed Ash Wednesday with special church services and "ashes to go" events at several Tyler locations. 

The day marks the start of Lent, a 40-day period designed to serve as a time of repentance for sin in preparation for the upcoming Easter celebration, which commemorates Jesus Christ's Resurrection.

On Ash Wednesday, church leaders put ashes in the shape of the cross on a person's forehead as a sign of penitence and a reminder of mortality. Often the action of placing the ashes on the forehead is followed with the phrase, "Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return."

Events included Marvin United Methodist Church's Ashes on the Square at the T.B. Butler Fountain Plaza in downtown Tyler; Ashes to Go at St. Francis Episcopal Church in Tyler; and Ashes to Go put on by St. John Episcopal Church near the corner of Front Street and South Broadway Avenue. Pollard United Methodist Church in Tyler also offered drive-up blessing and ashes in its front parking lot. 

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