Initially the word LENT simply meant spring, and later became associated with the fast. The English word “lent” derives from the Germanic root *langat-tin – today’s german “Lenz” – for Spring (specifically Old English lencten; also the Anglo-Saxon name for March – lenct – as the main part of Lent, before Easter, usually occurred in March).
In Western Christianity, Lent is the season from Ash Wednesday to Holy Saturday.
There are traditionally forty days in Lent which are marked by fasting, both from foods and festivities, and by other acts of penance. If this applies also to the non-counted sundays during this period is a matter of interpretation…
Fasting during Lent was more severe in ancient times than today. Socrates Scholasticus reports that in some places, all animal products were strictly forbidden, while others will permit fish, others permit fish and fowl, others prohibit fruit and eggs, and still others eat only bread. In some places, believers abstained from food for an entire day, others took only one meal each day, while others abstained from all food until 3 o’clock. In most places, however, the practice was to abstain from eating until the evening and then a small meal without meat or alcohol was eaten.
During the early Middle Ages; meat, eggs and dairy products were generally proscribed.