Through the course of my ministry I have found, that while Christians celebrate the Lenten season, they don't always know why. So permit me, if you will, to give a "text-book" account of that which I speak.
The Lenten season begins on Ash Wednesday and lasts for 40 days. (excluding Sundays which are always considered feast days celebrating the resurrection) So, Lent is 40 days long not counting Sundays. The word 'Lent' originally meant 'spring' and it is to be understood as a time to reflect on Baptism and its basis in the death and resurrection of Jesus. Lent is therefore a time for rebirth and a renewal in preparation for the celebration of Easter.
The consideration of the suffering and death of Christ is primarily concentrated in the week beginning with the Sunday of passion or more commonly called Palm Sunday. Palms play a part in the introductory rites of worship on that Sunday, but the dominate theme of the service for that day is the passion of our Lord. Palm Sunday is the beginning of what we call Holy Week and that particular week should be given great emphasis as a time to consider the meaning of the death of Christ.
The traditional color for the season that the church uses is purple. It is meant to suggest somberness and solemnity. Lent is a time to give attention to purification, spiritual cleansing and deepening of the devotional life of the mind and heart. These times of devotion do not give or grant forgiveness nor do they make us a better Christian. What they are designed to do is to make us 'extra aware' of a man by the name of Jesus who did it all for us. May your Lenten season be marked by Christ and may all the things we do in the church help you to remember the real reason for it all.
As always Yours in Christ,