What are the Ember Days?
The Ember Days are special days for prayer and fasting during the liturgical year.
They correspond to the four seasons, and they focus our attention especially on the blessings of nature. On the Ember Days, we give thanks for blessings we’ve received, but also remind ourselves of our need for penance and grace.
The roots of the Ember Days go back to the Old Testament. The Book of Zechariah describes an ancient Jewish practice of fasting four times a year (8:19). Christians adapted this tradition into what was referred to in Latin as “Quatuor Tempora,” or “four times.” Somewhere through the centuries the Latin “tempora” became “ember” in colloquial speech, and thus the name “Ember Days.”Ember Days 101 – The Catholic Gentleman