THE NIGHT BEFORE: On Fat Tuesday, Durham Mardi Gras parade-goers ogled street preachers who warned that sinners would be condemned to hellfire.

THE MORNING AFTER: Ash Wednesday marks the first day of Lent in Christian traditions, the beginning of 40 days of repentance, introspection and spiritual awakening. In downtown Durham, the Rev. Taylor W. Mills, senior pastor of Trinity United Methodist Church, and two congregants performed the Imposition of the Ashes on several passersby near Main and Market streets. The church members did not proselytize, and quietly offered the ritual.