Feb. 14 is the beginning of the Lenten season, which runs until March 31, one day before Easter Sunday, April 1.
Although not everyone follows the Lenten tradition, many Christian faith traditions participate by having Ash Wednesday services and use ashes as part of the service.
Although the Lenten season lasts 40 days, the count from Ash Wednesday to the day before Easter, often called Holy Saturday, is actually 46 days. That is because the six Sundays do not count. For many Christians, Lent is the hallowed 40-day period of sacrifice leading up to Jesus' death and Resurrection.
During Lent, according to one source, Catholics and some Protestants prepare for Holy Week by fasting, praying, and reconciling with the Lord. They will often have mid-week Lenten services.
Even Christian faith traditions that do not engage in Lenten traditions of sacrifice (such as fasting or giving up something the person enjoys, such as smoking, meat, alcohol, coffee, soda) often encourage preparation of themselves for the coming of Easter.
Rather than encouraging a sacrifice by giving up something, some suggest taking on some work that helps Christians to follow in the footsteps of Jesus, as shown by example in the Bible. That work may be volunteering to serve food to the homeless or working at a food bank.
Lent is not only for those who follow a Christian faith. One British news source — Metro — said although Lent is a Christian religious observance, "many secular people have also decided to give up something during this time. Some do this for health reasons, while others simply want to test whether they have the willpower to do so."