Ember Days probably go back to the beginning of The Catholic Church, and they evolved from just three times a year to four times and from being only to ask for good harvests to including prayer for vocations to the Priesthood, as well.
They are now called in Latin: Quatuor Tempora, and they are still celebrated by those, who attend the Tridentine Holy Mass and use the traditional Church calendar of A. D. 1962. They are observed on the Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, which FOLLOW: St. Lucy’s Feast on December 13th, Ash Wednesday, Pentecost/Whitsunday, and the Triumph of The Cross on September 14th.
Currently, the fasting and prayers made on Ember Days are to dedicate each of the four Seasons to God, beseeching Him to grant us good vocations to the Priesthood and good harvests. Both of these are very important to us – the first feeds us spiritually, and the second feeds us materially.
There is no obligation, currently, to observe the Ember Days, although they were never outlawed by The Church. If you would like to participate in them, please offer up extra prayers – especially The Holy Mass – to The Lord to ask for good harvests and for good men to answer God’s Call to the Priesthood. Also, as sacrifice along with prayer is always more pleasing to God, please observe a fast on Ember Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday. A fast, according to The Church is eating meat and meat gravies at only one meal – the regular meal, and only eating two smaller meals, which do not equal the regular meal and not eating or snacking between meals. Of course, on Friday, as usual, please abstain from meat entirely. (Currently, in the U.S., as the new norm, we can eat meat on Fridays, but we still have to perform a type of penance on that day.)