It's a six week period of reflection, prayer and fasting leading up to the Easter holiday.
On Tuesday, many local catholic churches held palm burning ceremonies around Chicago in preparation for the day.
Ashes from those palms will be used to mark the sign of the cross on believers' foreheads.
For commuters who can't make it to church, you can receive ashes at O'Hare and Midway Airports as well as certain CTA stops throughout the day.
Ash Wednesday: Public Places handing out ashes
- Armitage CTA Brown Line: Ashes will be distributed by members of St. Teresa of Avila Parish (7:00 a.m. - 9:00 a.m.)
- St. Hugh of Lincoln Episcopal Church located at 36W957 Highland Ave, Elgin, Ill.
Marion Phipps will greet drivers and offer ashes and blessings in the parking lot (4:30 p.m. -6:30 p.m.)
- Logan Square Blue Line: Ashes will be distributed by members of St. John Berchmans Parish (5:30 p.m. -6:30 p.m.)
- O'Hare Airport Chapel: ORD Terminal 2- mezzanine level
Ashes will be distributed at Mass held at (7:00 a.m., 11:00 a.m., 1:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m.)
- Midway Airport Chapel: MDW Concourse C- mezzanine level
Ashes will be distributed at Mass held at (9:00 a.m., 11:00 a.m., 1:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m.)
Lent is observed for 40 days as every Sunday is viewed as a celebration, ending with Easter Sunday on April 12.