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Daily Calendar for Saturday, December 21, 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:

“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.”“

The winter solstice is one of the two times each year that the Sun is at its farthest point from the equator and appears to stand still. The word solstice is derived from the Latin sol, or “Sun,” and stitium, or “stoppage.”

The Halcyon Days also occur around this time. According to ancient legend, a grieving wife named Halcyon threw herself into the sea upon discovering the drowned body of her beloved husband, Ceyx. The gods took pity on the pair, transforming them into kingfishers, or halcyons, with the power to still the stormy seas for 14 days near the time of the winter solstice while they hatched their young.”

Learn more about the winter solstice and the first day of winter!

Question of the Day

Is there anything I can do to stop the stairs in my house from squeaking?
There is. Find the offending step (or steps) and sprinkle some talcum powder into the noisy joint between the tread and the riser. For a more permanent solution, if you can get at the back of your stairs, you can repair them by driving nails from underneath through the riser and into the tread at an angle; this will make them hold better.

Advice of the Day

To defeat sleepless nights, try as hard as possible to stay awake; you’ll soon be asleep.

Home Hint of the Day

If you’re nailing into knotty or tough wood, first make a pilot hole. Drill a hole slightly smaller in diameter than the nail before inserting and hammering it in.

Word of the Day

Chionophobia
The fear of snow

Puzzle of the Day

What do we often return but never borrow?
Thanks

Died

  • Giovanni Boccaccio (poet)
  • Marc Connelly (playwright)

Born

  • Jane Fonda (actress)
  • Samuel L. Jackson (actor)
  • Ray Romano (comedian & actor)
  • Kiefer Sutherland (actor)

Events

  • Mackenzie Bowell became Canada’s 5th Prime Minister
  • The first crossword puzzle was printed in a NY newspaper
  • Pianist Vladimir Horowitz wed Wanda Toscanini
  • Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs premiered at the Carthay Circle Theater in Hollywood, California. It was the first animated feature-length film with sound and color

Weather

  • A four-day snowstorm began in Portland, Oregon
  • A storm in Texas, Arkansas, and Louisiana brought 26 inches of snow to Hillsboro, Texas

Explore Other Dates on the Calendar