The second half of the 17th century was a time of great hardships for Protestants: Protestant church history calls the years between 1671 and 1681 the ‘decade of mourning’. Thanks to some illustrated works by pastors freed from galley slavery, however, we can get some idea of what the preachers wore in those days.
The Habsburg Court regarded Protestantism simply as the ideological expression of the nobility, that is, the ‘spirit of rebellion’. In addition, it was part of the absolutist thinking of the era that only a mono-religious country could be politically united.
According to Hungarian folk belief, those who receive the ashes on Ash Wednesday will be free from headaches for quite a while. In the olden days, there was even a Hungarian folk tradition according to which people returning home from church rubbed their foreheads with those who stayed at home, to help them avoid headaches.