I just learned what Lent is about. Apparently there is some ash stuff on Ash Wednesday, which follows Fat Tuesday (Mardi Gras).
The ash stuff involves burning Palm leaves from previous Palm Sunday, and symbolically applying the ashes to forehead as a sign of grief. It is a grief that is observed from Ash Wednesday till Easter. It is directed toward the suffering that Jesus endured, and because that Jesus suffered for our sakes. In the Bible, it was customary to grieve by wearing sackcloth and ashes.
Also, it is traditional to give up something during Lent, a fast. I know one person that is giving up sweets and adding a commitment to daily devotional (which I know she has been slack on lately). Fat Tuesday is a time to indulge one last time, though so often used as an excuse to sin.
Growing up a Baptist, I have never observed Lent.
My conclusion is that Lent as a formality is unnecessary, but the idea behind it is worthy. The point of it is to take time out and actually contemplate what Jesus did. To grieve a little bit for our sin, which led Him to the cross. I need no formality to do that, though the public observance of it is a reminder to do it.