Ash Wednesday is the first day of Lent in the Western Christian calendar, directly following Shrove Tuesday. Occurring 46 days before Easter, it is a moveable feast that can fall as early as February 4 and as late as March 10.
Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of this 40-day liturgical period of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. Of the 46 days until Easter, six are Sundays. As the Christian designation of Sabbath, Sundays are not included in the fasting period and are instead "feast" days during Lent.