In the practice of modern Roman Catholicism the following are recognized as fasting days, that is to say, days on which one meal only, and that not of flesh, may be taken in the course of twenty-four hours: - The forty days of Lent (Sundays excepted), all the Ember days, the Wednesdays and Fridays in Advent, and the vigils of certain feasts, namely, those of Whitsuntide, of St Peter and St Paul, of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, of All Saints and of Christmas day.
The Ember weeks are the complete weeks next following Holy Cross day (September 14), St Lucy's'day (December 13), the first Sunday in Lent and Whitsun day.
It is worn, too, on the vigils of fasts, Ember Days and days of intercession, on the Feast of Holy Innocents (if on a week-day), at litanies, penitential processions, and at other than solemn benedictions and consecrations.
EMBER DAYS and Ember Weeks, the four seasons set apart by the Western Church for special prayer and fasting, and the ordination of clergy, known in the medieval Church as quatuor tempora, or jejunia quatuor temporum.
Holy orders are to be conferred on the Ember Saturdays, on the Saturday before Passion Sunday or on Holy Saturday (Easter Eve).
Rumanian folksongs were Magyarized by George Ember, Julian;Grozescu and Joseph Vulcanu, under the title Roman nepdalok (Budapest, 1877).
The Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays of these weeks are the Ember days distinctively, the following Sundays being the days of ordination.
The occurrence of the Anglo-Saxon compounds ymbren-tid, ymbren-wucan, ymbren fcestan, ymbren-dagas for Ember tide, weeks, fasts, days, favours the former derivation, which is also confirmed by the use of the word imbren in the acts of the council of iEnham, A.D.
The observance of the Ember days is confined to the Western Church, and had its origin as an ecclesiastical ordinance in Rome.