Lent - is a forty day period of intense fasting, prayer, penitence and spiritual renewal; a season of grief that ends with a joyous celebration of Easter. It is a time for us to analyze and think in depth about the meaning of our lives; the time to forgive, the time to get rid of the last bit of evil that resides in our souls.
The forty days represent the time Jesus spent in the desert in prayer, without food and three times tempted by devil, before He began His public ministry.
Different churches calculate the forty days differently. In Western Church the Lent begins on Ash Wednesday and does not include Sundays. In Ukraine Lent starts two days earlier, on Clean/Pure Monday (Chystyi Ponedilok) and lasts for seven weeks, counting all days including Sundays until Friday evening before Lazarus Saturday and Palm Sunday; however, fasting continues throughout Holy (Passion) Week until early Easter Sunday morning. Lazarus Saturday, Palm Sunday and Holy Week are a separate fasting period.
Clean/Pure Monday (the first day of Lent in Ukraine) is also called a Green Monday (Zelenyi Ponedilok), or Ash Monday (by analogy with Ash Wednesday).
The first week of Lent is called "Clean Week" (Chystyi Tyzhden'). During this week people clean their houses and go to Confession.
During the Lenten Fast people abstain from meat, eggs and dairy products. Fast is somewhat relaxed on Saturdays and Sundays in honor of the Sabbath and the Resurrection. The most intense fast is during the first week (Clean Week) and last week (Passion Week). The strictest fast is on Fridays, particularly on Good Friday. The Friday fasting is practiced throughout a year by many people, not just during the period of Lent.
The prayers, both private and public are intensified during the Lent season, and during certain prayers it is required to conduct prostrations (kneel, and bow to the ground).
The Stations of Cross are prayed on Fridays.
During Lent people clean their houses and yards. Everything should be sparkly clean and prepared for Easter. Any kind of festivities is discouraged during this time.