The practice of celebrating lent is said to be related to Jesus and his 40 day fast. According to the literature of Jehovah's Witnesses, however, Jesus did not command his followers to celebrate Lent. The Witnesses believe that the first reliable account of a 40 day fast before Easter is in the letters of Athanasius, which date to 330 C.E.
Also the Witnesses note that Jesus fasted for 40 days after his baptism, not before his death. Because of this they believe it is strange that some religions celebrate Lent before Easter. They say that a 40 day fast in the beginning of each year was common in pagan customs of the Babylonians, Egyptians, and Greeks, indicating that Lent is not a Christian custom. Rather they believe that the practice of celebrating Lent was borrowed from the pagans. Watchtower Magazine, April 1, 2009, Article: 'Fasting - Does It Draw You Closer to God?'