EMBER-DAYS: Days of special fasting and prayer occurring quarterly (Lat. jejuna quattuor temporum), on the Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday after the first Sunday in Lent, Pentecost, Sept. 14, and Dec. 14. They seem to have been originally instituted for the purpose of asking God's blessing on the several seasons of the year (Bingham, Origines, xxi. 2); but later they assumed more importance as the seasons specially appointed for ordination. See FASTING, II.