- 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.