Le Christ au Désert. 1872.
Lent is one of two great seasons of preparation and penance, the other being Advent, which leads up to Christmas. Consisting of 40 days, excluding Sundays, Lent was traditionally a season of preparation for new converts who were to be baptised on Easter Sunday. The number of days comes from gospel accounts of Jesus’ 40 days of testing in the wilderness. Lent is generally a time for all Christians to strengthen their faith, with emphasis on prayer, fasting, acts of penance and mercy. The season begins with Ash Wednesday and concludes with the Holy Week Celebrations on Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and the Easter Vigil.