I converted several years ago. I too was raised with a big ta-doo about Easter, but never any mention of Lent.
I have come to love the Lenten season…more so then the Christmas season.
Our family always attends at least one reading of the Stations of the Cross. I usually sacrifice something, not usually food since I do that often (dieting) and I don’t really consider it a sacrifice for the right reasons. My children usually give up something…soda, candy etc. My husband (he’s not Catholic) does follow the “no meat on Friday” rule. My kids are older now, and not home so much, but when they were younger we would get the book given out by the church and read passages at the dinner table then discuss it.
We live in Maryland, and there is an old Catholic Church in a place called Harper’s Ferry. For several years now, we’ve gone there on Good Friday. You have to climb a ways up to the chuch. It’s small and very old. There is a huge crucifix and the body of the Lord is displayed beaten and bloody. You can kneel in front of it and just contemplate his Passion.
Recently, I’ve included watching the movie, The Passion, during Lent.
I attend Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Vigil. My kids (young adults) aren’t as keen on 3 days in a row…but I love it. I think it’s the holiest time of the year and such a great opportunity to deepen your relationship with Christ.