How to Forecast the Weather by the Ember Days

by Julia Drake

Historically, Roman Catholics and Anglicans associated Ember Days with holy times of prayer and fasting. Ember Days occur on 12 specific Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays throughout the year and are connected with the four seasons. The Latin name for Ember Days is "quatuor tempora," which translates to "four times" or "four seasons." In folklore tradition, if you observe the weather on each of the 12 Ember Days, you can predict the weather for all four seasons of the year.

Look in a calendar or a farmer's almanac to determine when the first Sunday in Lent will fall in the coming year.

Step outside and observe the weather on the first set of Ember Days, or the Wednesday, Friday and Saturday following the first Sunday in Lent.

Use your weather observations on the Lenten Ember Days to predict the weather for the succeeding three months. For example, if the first Sunday in Lent falls on March 13 (as it did in 2011), use the weather you observe on Wednesday, March 16 to forecast the weather for April. Predict the weather for May by observing the weather on Friday, March 18 and predict the weather for June by observing the weather on Saturday, March 19.

Determine when Whitsunday (or Pentecost) will fall in the calendar year. The second set of Ember Days occurs on the Wednesday, Friday and Saturday following Whitsunday.

Observe the weather patterns on the Whitsunday Ember Days and use your observations to forecast the weather for the next three months.

Watch the weather on the third set of Ember Days. The third set of Ember Days occurs on the Wednesday, Friday and Saturday following the Feast of the Holy Cross on September 14.

Predict the weather for October, November and December by watching the weather on the Ember Days following the Feast of the Holy Cross on September 14.

Observe and record the weather during the fourth set of Ember Days following the Feast of Saint Lucia on December 13. Use Wednesday's weather to predict the weather for January, Friday's weather to foretell the weather for February and Saturday's weather to forecast the weather for March.

Items you will need

  • Calendar or a farmer's almanac

About the Author

Julia Drake has been writing since 2007 when she had her first article published in “The Beltane Papers.” She received her Bachelor of Arts in women studies from the University of Washington. She recently completed her Master of Arts in women’s spirituality at the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology.

Photo Credits

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