Lent is a 40-day period that takes place before Easter.
Lent starts with Ash Wednesday and last for 40 weekdays. This year, Lent will start on Wednesday –March 5– and will last until Easter Sunday.
During Lent, Christians across the world take part in self-examination, fasting and penance to prepare for Easter. When the event is started off on Wednesday, many Christians will place ash from a blessed palm branch on their heads in the shape of a cross. This act represents mortality and and serves as a reminder that repentance is needed. The ashes are usually worn for all of Ash Wednesday, but they can be removed earlier, Catholic Online notes.
Ash Wednesday and the start of Lent is preceded by Fat Tuesday, which means Mardi Gras in French.