Daily Calendar for Wednesday, December 20, 2023 | Almanac.com

Daily Calendar for Wednesday, December 20, 2023

Ember Days happen four times a year at the start of each season. Traditionally observed by some Christian denominations, each set of Ember Days is three days, kept on a successive Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday. 

Ember Days for 2023
September: 20, 22, 23 
December: 20, 22, 23

Ember Days for 2024
February 21, 23, 24
May 22, 24, 25
September 18, 20, 21
December 18, 20, 21

These three days are set apart for fasting, abstinence, and prayer. The first of these four times comes in winter, after the Feast of St. Lucia, December 13; the second set comes with the First Sunday in Lent; the third set comes after Whitsunday/Pentecost Sunday; the four and last set comes after the Feast of the Holy Cross. Their dates can be remembered by this old mnemonic:

“Sant Crux, Lucia, Cineres, Charismata Dia Ut sit in angaria quarta sequens feria.”

Which means:

“Holy Cross, Lucy, Ash Wednesday, Pentecost, are when the quarter holidays follow.”

In Latin, Ember Days are known as the quattuor anni tempora (the “four seasons of the year”). Folklore has it that the weather on each of the three days foretells the weather for three successive months. 

As with much folklore, this is grounded in some common sense since the beginning of the four seasons cue the changes in weather as well as a shift in how we keep harmony with the Earth and respect our stewardship of the Earth, our “garden of Eden.”“

Question of the Day

Where did the term “cardinal sin” originate?
A cardinal sin is the same as a deadly sin, a product of early Christian monasticism and Saint Gregory the Great of the late sixth century. The seven deadly sins are vainglory (pride), covetousness, lust, envy, gluttony, anger, and sloth. They were classified as “deadly” not only because they were serious moral offenses but also because they frequently resulted in the commission of other sins. These days, “cardinal sin” is popularly used for any major sin.

Advice of the Day

To prevent seasickness, carry a pouch of roasted salt in your pocket.

Home Hint of the Day

If a kerosene lamp smokes a lot, try adding 2 to 3 tablespoons of salt to the kerosene.

Word of the Day

The fear of snow

Puzzle of the Day

What do we often return but never borrow?


  • Harvey Samuel Firestone (tire manufacturer)
  • Irene Dunne (actress)
  • George Roy Hill (director of film)
  • Nicole DeBoer (actress)
  • Jonah Hill (actor)
  • JoJo (singer)


  • Bobby Darin (singer)
  • Arthur Rubenstein (pianist)
  • Carl Sagan (astronomer)
  • J. Russell Coffey (oldest known U.S. veteran of World War I)
  • Robert Mulligan (director)
  • Brittany Murphy (actress)
  • Steve Landesberg (actor)


  • Operation of first successful water-powered cotton spinning mill in U.S. began, Pawtucket, Rhode Island
  • Louisiana Purchase finalized
  • Missouri imposed a $1 tax on bachelors
  • South Carolina seceded from the Union
  • Name “Canadian National Railways” was authorized
  • 24-lb. 8-oz. horse-eye jack caught, Miami, Florida
  • California angler caught 230-pound Nile perch in Lake Nasser, Egypt


  • Temperatures in central Illinois dropped from 40 to 0 degrees F in a sudden cold snap that was said to freeze chickens in their tracks
  • Snowstorm began in Denver, Colorado, that delivered up to 30 inches of snow

Explore Other Dates on the Calendar