Europe | France | Rhone Valley and Provence | Aix En Provence – Ashes to Ashes
I’m Episcopalian, Mary Helen is Catholic. So we decided to go to Ash Wednesday Mass in Aix-En-Provence where we arrived today for an Imposition of the Ashes.
In the States, most Masses I have been to you either receive a cross on your forehead, or a smudge on your forehead. And the ashes have always been black. It is not the same in France. The ashes here where very light grey, almost to white. And instead of smudging your forehead, the priest would sprinkle them on the top of your head, further back if you bent your head further down to ‘receive’ your blessings. People with black hair left the service with a skunk-like stripe going through their hair. Mary got a priest who just sprinkled, she looked like she might need a little dandruff shampoo. I, on the other hand, got a dumper! I got a big grey stripe on the back of my head. And since it was drizzling when we left mass, it got wet and made an ashen mud in my hair.
Dinner tonight was at a cafe in town with outdoor seating. The seating in the winter is covered with a tarp and heated with overhead heat lamps. So the mud in my hair got thoroughly cooked in. It was disgusting. Next year, I’ll go for the forehead smudge!