Ash Wednesday is one of my favorite days of the entire year. Yes, so it's a day of fasting, but I look forward to the service and the mass. It's a wonderful way to start the Lenten season. I love getting the little black cross on my forehead.
Ash Wednesday is not a Holy Day of Obligation, but it is highly encouraged to go. During the service, the priest puts ashes on the foreheads of the congregation in the sign of the cross as a visible sign of repentance, saying "Remember you are dust, and to dust you shall return." The ashes come from the previous year's palms from Palm Sunday, which I think is neat. It is like completing the cycle. It's always interesting gauging the reactions from non-Catholics and witnessing for the faith on campus and off (like last year, when I was traveling to DC; very interesting having my bold, black ashes in the airport).
"Repent, and believe in the Gospel." -Mark 1:15
T.S. Eliot's Ash Wednesday is a wonderful read.
"This Time of Forty Days" is pretty funny, Catholic humor-wise...
Blessings on your day, and peace on your mind.