Ember Days

Today is Ember Wednesday of Pentecost Week. Friday and Saturday will be ember days as well.

The liturgical year includes four sets of ember days: December, Lent, Pentecost, and September. Each set has three ember days, which are the Wednesday, Friday and Saturday of a given week. The ember days are days of fasting and abstinence tied to nature and the turn of the seasons: December for winter, Lent for spring, Pentecost for summer, and September for autumn. Ember days invite us to "consider the wonder of the natural seasons and their relation to their Creator." They were long associated with ordination, ordinations having been held on Ember Saturdays.

So we should observe these ember days with fasting and/or abstinence, penance, thankfulness to God for the wonder of creation, and with prayers for priests and deacons.

The ember days have been dropped, naturally, in the OF, but are still celebrated in the EF.

More detailed articles on ember days can be found at Fr Z's and at the NLM.

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