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Full Version: Ember Days, Dec. 19, 21, 22
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Fast and partial abstinence on Wednesday and Saturday. 

What are the Ember days and why are they instituted?

The Ember days are the first Wednesday, Friday and Saturday of each of the four seasons
of the year, set apart as fast days by the Catholic Church. According to the testimony of
Pope Leo, they originated in the time of the Apostles, who were inspired by the Holy
Ghost to dedicate each season of the year to God by a few days of penance, or, as it were,
to pay three days interest, every three months, on the graces received from God. The
Church has also commanded us to fast at the beginning of each of the four seasons of the
year, because it is at this time that she ordains the priests and other servants of the Church,
which even the Apostles did with much prayer and fasting. Thus she desires that during
the Ember days Christians should fervently ask of God by prayer, by fasting and other
good works, worthy pastors and servants, on whom depends the welfare of the whole
Christian flock; she desires that in the spring Ember days we should ask God's blessing for
the fertility of the earth; in summer for the preservation of the fruits of the field, in autumn
when the harvest is ripe, and in winter when it is sheltered, that we should offer to God by
fasting and prayer a sacrifice of thanks, petitioning Him to assist us, that we may not use
His gifts for our soul's detriment, but that we refer all praise to Him, the fountain of all
good, and assist our neighbor according to our means.
FE has a page on the Advent Embertide too:

http://www.fisheaters.com/customsadvent11.html
These ember days are some of the most ancient parts of the Missal. They have the features of the flectamus genua, multiple readings, and, of course, the ancient pattern of penance on Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday. That harkens back to the earliest Church period: "Let not your fasts be with the hypocrites, for they fast on Mondays and Thursdays, but do you fast on Wednesdays and Fridays" (Didache, 8:1, 1st century). Originally this was the only observance in the pre-Christmas season. In addition, the Mass on Saturday (Sabbato in Lectionbus XII) was a night vigil, with ordinations, and with the following Sunday being vacant.
(12-15-2012, 10:51 AM)Scriptorium Wrote: [ -> ]These ember days are some of the most ancient parts of the Missal. They have the features of the flectamus genua, multiple readings, and, of course, the ancient pattern of penance on Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday. That harkens back to the earliest Church period: "Let not your fasts be with the hypocrites, for they fast on Mondays and Thursdays, but do you fast on Wednesdays and Fridays" (Didache, 8:1, 1st century). Originally this was the only observance in the pre-Christmas season. In addition, the Mass on Saturday (Sabbato in Lectionbus XII) was a night vigil, with ordinations, and with the following Sunday being vacant.

I believe that originally, all the Ember Saturdays (at least, if not other Ember Days) were night Vigils with there being no other Proper Sunday Mass, and all Saturday night/Sunday morning Masses having Ordinations (along with Holy Saturday).