Among many Catholics and Anglicans, it is a custom to observe Ember Days, a cluster of four sets of three days in the calendar year, roughly around the start of the four seasons. They are set aside by the Church as a way to mark the passage of seasons through prayer and fasting.
What Are Ember Days?
The name is derived from the Latin quattuor tempora, meaning “Four Times” or “Four Seasons.” The specific themes for each Ember Week of the year are as follows:
- Spring: the Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday after Ash Wednesday, to give thanks for the rebirth of nature and for the gift of light (usually flowers are offered at this time).
- Summer: Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday after Pentecost, to give thanks for the wheat crop.
- Fall: the Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday after the Feast of the Holy Cross (September 14), to give thanks for the grape harvest.
- Winter: the Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday after the Feast of St. Lucy (December 13), during the third week of Advent, to give thanks for the olive crop.
The significance of the days of the week is that Wednesday was the day Christ was betrayed, Friday was the day He was crucified, and Saturday was the day He was entombed.
When Are Ember Days In 2023?
- Lenten /Spring Ember Days – March 1, 3, 4, 2023
- Summer Ember Days – May 31, June 2, 3, 2023
- Fall Ember Days: September 20, 22, 23, 2023
- Advent Ember Days: December 20, 22, 23, 2023
Ember Days Folklore
According to folklore, the weather conditions of each of the three days of an Embertide foretells the weather conditions for the following three months.
The Farmers’ Almanac has long carried the Ember Days in each of our editions.