Lent begins a Catholic holiday that allows adherents to forget the horrible actions they took during the previous year by abstaining from something for forty days. They call it penance. For example, Catholics could give up chewing bubble gum, or not watch television. It was inspired by the forty days Jesus allegedly spent fasting in the desert, where neither chewing gum nor television were available.

Frustrated Catholics could even give up masturbation for Lent. (It is funny because Catholics aren't supposed to masturbate. Some say jokes are not funny if you have to explain them.)

Ash Wednesday is the first day of lent where people foolishly smear ashes on their forehead. Biblical cherry-picking allows them to keep the symbolic ash part, but ignore dressing up in sackcloth. Priests (or ministers) also taint the session with negative thinking:

Remember that thou art dust, and to dust thou shalt return.

The human body is a complex chemical machine. Some people around the world (foundations like Methuselah) do not see returning to dust as thy only conclusion. Rather, they see death as a disease to be cured.