Ember days indicate the start of each season in the Catholic Church’s liturgical year. The Church seasons are Advent, Lent, Pentecost, and Ordinary Time. Coincidentally (or perhaps as Church history dictates), each season also aligns with the natural seasons particularly in the US climate.
Ember days are traditionally a day of fasting and abstinence, at least in the US only a partial abstinence is observed. Abstinence means avoiding eating meat, while fasting means eating only one-full meal. It is still being practiced by traditional Catholics.
Ember Days occur on the Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday following the feast that culminates them. Folklore has it that the weather conditions of each of the Ember day predicts the weather of the next three months respectively. See the following table.
|Church season||Natural season||Starts in the Month of||Feast that triggers the start of a new liturgical season||The weather of||Predicts the weather of|
|Advent||Winter||December||St. Lucy (Dec 13)||Ember Wednesday of Advent||January|
|Ember Friday of Advent||February|
|Ember Saturday of Advent||March|
(movable feast; 46 days before Easter)
|Ember Wednesday of Lent||April|
|Ember Wednesday of Lent||May|
|Ember Wednesday of Lent||June|
|Pentecost||Summer||May||Descent of the Holy Ghost (movable feast; 8th Sunday after Easter)||Ember Wednesday of Pentecost||July|
|Ember Wednesday of Pentecost||August|
|Ember Wednesday of Pentecost||September|
|Michaelmas||Fall||September||Holy Cross (Sep 14)||Ember Wednesday of Michealmas||October|
|Ember Wednesday of Michaelmas||November|
|Ember Wednesday of Michaelmas||December|
When are the Ember days in 2021?
The Ember days in 2021 are:
- Feb 24 Ember Wednesday of Lent
Feb 26 Ember Friday of Lent
Feb 27 Ember Saturday of Lent
- May 26 Ember Wednesday of Pentecost
May 28 Ember Friday of Pentecost
May 29 Ember Saturday of Pentecost
- Sep 22 Ember Wednesday of Michaelmas
Sep 24 Ember Friday of Michaelmas
Sep 25 Ember Saturday of Michaelmas
- Dec 15 Ember Wednesday of Advent
Dec 17 Ember Friday of Advent
Dec 18 Ember Saturday of Advent