Ember Days

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"Ember Days in the Catholic Liturgical Year."
The Four Occurrences of Ember Days are as Follows:
  • Winter: the Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday after the Feast of St. Lucy.
  • Spring: the Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday after Ash Wednesday.
  • Summer: the Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday after Pentecost.
  • Fall: the Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday after the Feast of the Holy Cross.
History of Ember Days
According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, the celebration of Ember Days derived from a pagan Roman practice. Before converting to Christianity, the Romans had performed pagan religious ceremonies on these days in relation to their agriculture.
These occasions were changed when former pagans converted and Ember Days became a part of Christian tradition early, as noted in the Catholic Encyclopedia:
“The Church, when converting heathen nations, has always tried to sanctify any practices which could be utilized for a good purpose. At first the Church in Rome had fasts in June, September, and December; the exact days were not fixed but were announced by the priests. The "Liber Pontificalis" ascribes to Pope Callistus (217-222) a law ordering the fast, but probably it is older. Leo the Great (440-461) considers it an Apostolic institution.”
As mentioned in the above quote, Ember Days were not set for a particular week in the early centuries. The timing for Catholic Ember Days was officially arranged and fixed by Pope Gregory VII, who was pope from 1073 to 1085.
In 1966, Pope Paul VI’s apostolic constitution, Paenitemini, which addressed and altered feasting regulations, excluded Ember Days as days of fast and abstinence.