Today we begin the 40 days of Lent with Ash Wednesday. Ash Wednesday is when many Christians go to church and receive ashes. For Catholics, it is not a Holy Day of Obligation, but still encouraged to go.
Catholics should not eat meat on Ash Wednesday and Fridays during Lent. It's a time of reflection and abstaining. When we abstain from things, we make more room for Jesus Christ.
Catholics also give up something and/or do something good instead. Often you hear people give up sweets, soda and chocolate. It's also good to give up using curse words, anger, rudeness etc. Activities to do during Lent are pray, attend Mass, be nicer, forgive someone you have had a grudge for awhile etc.
Collecting money for a cause or people who have less is excellent way to spend Lent. Jesus teaches us to love each other. There is no better time then now to love each other.
Lent lasts 40 days and then we have Easter!
For more information - http://www.examiner.com/article/the-season-of-lent-2