What is Lent and why does it last forty days?
Lent is a time of repentance, fasting and preparation for the coming of Easter. It is a time of self-examination and reflection. In the early church, Lent was a time to prepare new converts for baptism. Today, Christians focus on their relationship with God, often choosing to give up something or volunteering and giving of themselves for others. The forty days represents the time Jesus spent in the wilderness, enduring the temptation of Satan. Sundays in Lent are not counted in the forty days because each Sunday represents a "mini-Easter" celebration of the Jesus' victory over sin and death.
Visit these sites for more information:
Upper Room's Ask Julian Web site
Lent 101 at Upper Room's MethodX Web site