Posted on

The Types of Ashes you might get on Ash Wednesday

One of the most visible aspects of Lent, is how it begins: Ash Wednesday.This is the day we all see who is getting ready to enter into the season of Lent, by spotting who has ash on their forehead. This guide will help you identify the types of ash marks you might encounter.

 The Crosscross

A True Classic. The most widely depicted ash in the media. The Cross is probably the most common type of ashes, and also the starting point and root ash type of many others. Frequently, The Cross is attempted only to turn out as one of its many derivatives.

The Thumbprintthumbprint

One of the few ash types not derived from The Cross. Often used when ash supplies are running low or when time is in short supply due to its economic use of ashes and quick application time. Also referred to as ‘The Catholic Bindi” due to its resemblance to the traditional Hindu forehead mark or ” The Missed Spot”, as this is the ash type most frequently confused for a spot of dirt on the forehead left behind from improper face washing technique.

The Double Wide


Simply put, a Cross ash type, whose horizontal line is much longer than proportion allows. The Double Wide can vary from only slightly out of proportion to covering the width of the entire forehead.

The Simba


A Cross or Double Wide with an extremely small or even nonexistent vertical line. So named for its resemblance for the mark young Simba receives in the opening scene of the 1994 Disney animated classic ” The Lion King”

The Unibrow


A Simba or Double Wide whose has a lower latitudinal application than desired. This lower than average location connects the two eyebrows and simulates the appearance of one brow, particularly from mid to long range viewing. Consequently, this is the ash type that is most helpful in growing in humility.

The X Marks the Spot


The classic Cross ash type, tilted anything from 30 – 70 degrees. This may occur when the one applying the ashes is distracted or when the one receiving the ashes tilts their head seconds before application.

The Unsolved Mystery


Any ash type can turn into The Unsolved Mystery, so long as it is concealed by one’s hair.

The Missing Link


An extremely light application of ash. Unless explicitly looking for the ashes, observers may miss them. The Missing Link finds its way to foreheads when older ashes are used, forehead skin is dry or when one absentmindedly wipes their brow.

The Loomster


Closely related to the Double Wide and the Simba, this variety’s most distinctive feature is its prominent vertical line of ash. A complementary horizontal line may or may not be present in all sightings. So names because it brings to mind the longest french fry in an order, particularly on a day of fasting.

The Hash Tag


This ash type usually occurs when the ashes are applied with a very heavy finger, so that the outer lines are thick and prominent, but the inside lines are light and faded. This is also known as the “Ash Tag”

The Been There, Done That


Rarely seen in the wild, this ash type is of particular interest for its resemblance to a check mark. Best chances for a sighting are Masses and Ash services later in the day, when the chances of fatigue for the one applying ashes are at their highest, and your forehead is confused for their to-do list.

If you received your ashes on Ash Wednesday, did you take note of which type you received? Or did you notice someone else with a different type to yours? Post your photos and don’t forget to add the #AshTag