Lent is a 40 day Christian festival beginning Ash Wednesday and concluding on Easter (Sundays are not counted). The 40 day fast of Jesus in the wilderness was responsible for the number 40 being chosen . It was said by Athanasius in 339 AD to be celebrated the world over.
The word “Lent” comes from the old Anglo-Saxon word lengten, which means “springtime,” named so for the time of the year in which it occurs. The five Lenten Sundays are followed by the Sunday of the Passion, Palm Sunday, which begins Holy Week, when we relive the events of Jesus Christ’s suffering and death.
What we now call Lent was originally a period of fasting and study for catechumens who were to be baptized on the Saturday before Easter. The purpose of this extended fast was to practice self-denial and humility. This was to prepare oneself for receiving God’s grace and forgiveness in baptism, given on Easter Saturday or Easter Sunday.