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Daily Calendar for Wednesday, December 18, 2024

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:

β€œSant Crux, Lucia, Cineres, Charismata Dia Ut sit in angaria quarta sequens feria.”

Which means:

β€œHoly Cross, Lucy, Ash Wednesday, Pentecost, are when the quarter holidays follow.”

In Latin, Ember Days are known as the quattuor anni tempora (the β€œfour 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 β€œgarden of Eden.β€β€œ

Question of the Day

How long have people been sending out Christmas cards?
The first Christmas card is thought to have been printed in England in 1843. Wood engravers of the time often produced prints with religious themes, but this was the first time anyone produced these prints in quantity and sold them (1,000 copies in London). The design was of a family party, beneath which were the words β€œA Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to You.” In the mid-19th century in the United States, the owner of a variety store in Albany, New York, produced a card carrying Christmas greetings from β€œPease’s Great Variety Store in the Temple of Fancy.”

Advice of the Day

Kindnesses, like grain, increase by sowing.

Home Hint of the Day

To remove the film from inside a wine glass, fill the glass with a strong solution of ammonia and water. Wait a couple of hours, then wash and rinse.

Word of the Day

Auroraphobia
Fear of the northern lights

Puzzle of the Day

What flowers can be found between the nose and chin?
Tulips (two lips)

Born

  • Edward MacDowell (composer) –
  • Ty Cobb (baseball player) –
  • Betty Grable (actress) –
  • Steven Spielberg (director) –
  • Ray Liotta (actor ) –
  • Brad Pitt (actor) –
  • Katie Holmes (actress) –
  • Christina Aguilera (singer) –
  • Billie Eilish (singer) –

Died

  • Chris Farley (actor) –
  • Joe Barbera (half of the Hanna-Barbera animation team that made cartoon characters such as Tom and Jerry, Yogi Bear, and the Flintstones) –
  • Majel Barrett-Roddenberry (actress and producer) –
  • Connie Hines (actress) –
  • Zsa Zsa Gabor (actress and socialite) –

Events

  • The Great Comet reached perihelion–
  • New Jersey became the third state to ratify the U.S. Constitution–
  • John William Draper took the first photo of the Moon–
  • The 13th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, prohibiting slavery, went into effect–
  • National Anti-Saloon League was founded–
  • U.S. President Woodrow Wilson married Edith B. Galt, a descendent of Pocahontas–
  • Civil rights activist Rosa McCauley married Raymond Parks–
  • Giant panda, Basi, celebrated her 25th birthday at China’s Fuzhou Zoo. (She far surpassed the normal panda life expectancy of 12 years!)–

Weather

  • Central Park in New York City experienced a record low temperature of 10 degrees below zero F–
  • A sudden gale of wind of almost cyclonic force blew through Howe, Indiana, and caused snowballs to form spontaneously and roll along the ground like tumbleweeds–
  • Freezing rain in the Memphis, Tennessee, area caused 170 evening auto accidents–

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