Lent traces back to Old English with the meaning of "springtime." In the Christian church, the word refers to a period of spiritual preparation for Easter, a feast that commemorates Jesus' resurrection. In Western churches, it begins on Ash Wednesday, six and one half weeks before Easter, and is, traditionally, a time of penance and of a 40-day fast (excluding Sundays); the duration of the fast is patterned on Jesus' praying and fasting in the wilderness (or desert). In Eastern churches, it begins eight weeks before Easter, and both Saturdays and Sundays are excluded as fast days.
In addition to penance and fasting, the devout often choose to give up certain pleasures, such as sweets or weekend binge-watching, as a way of remembering the suffering of Jesus. If you see that forgoing something is beginning to put a person in a bad mood, find or make them a Jack-a-Lent (originally, a Jack of Lent), a stuffed puppet traditionally set up as a target to be pelted for fun during Lent and destroyed on Easter Day. It might be a good diversion.
Thou, that when last thou wert put out of Service, / Travelled'st to Hampstead-heath on an Ash-We'nesday, / Where thou didst stand six Weeks the Jack of Lent, / For Boys to hurl three throws a penny at thee, / To make thee a Purse.
— Ben Jonson, A Tale of a Tub, 1640