Lent is the period of forty days prior to the festival of Easter. From earliest Church history, it was discovered to be a time of reflection and preparation for the great festival of Easter. Indeed, in the early Church, new Christians were only baptised on the night before Easter Day and this period was used as their time of preparation.
Within the Church, it is a time of more sombre reflection marked often by additional services or by Christians giving up various things, such as sweets or cigarettes or alcohol, as a reflection of the forty days that Jesus spent in the wilderness before beginning his ministry.
There are two traditions concerning the colours that the priest wears during Lent. The more common is the wearing of purple vestments, but there is an old English tradition of wearing what is called Lent Array, i.e. simple unbleached cloth.