Why 40 days? Because, Jesus fasted and was tempted in the wilderness for 40 days. Lent, then, is our time of fasting, prayer, temptation and repentance. Lent is not required anywhere in scriptures, but it has been a custom, which Christians have practiced for most of the last two thousand years.
In many languages, the word "Lent" actually means "fast." This is where the custom of giving up something for Lent originated. ....
By Sucheta Dalal