This has been a bit of a challenge for the children especially, so soon after Ash Wednesday.
Even though they are not required until they are 14, by The Church, we have always encouraged out children to participate fully in the fasting and abstinence when we as a family participate.
We feel that we have many opportunities to Feast during our Liturgical journey that it is only ritght we should try to participate in the 'leaner' and 'harder' times as well.
After all how can we appreciate the feasts without the fasts?
Which makes this very appropriate-
All things have their season, and in their times all things pass under heaven.
A time to be born and a time to die. A time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted.
A time to kill, and a time to heal. A time to destroy, and a time to build.
A time to weep, and a time to laugh. A time to mourn, and a time to dance.
A time to scatter stones, and a time to gather. A time to embrace, and a time to be far from embraces.
A time to get, and a time to lose. A time to keep, and a time to cast away.
A time to rend, and a time to sew. A time to keep silence, and a time to speak.
A time of love, and a time of hatred. A time of war, and a time of peace.
Also I have not included the seasonal aspects of Ember Days as here in the Southern Hemisphere they are all 'back the front' ☺
The term “Ember Days” is derived from the Latin term Quatuor Tempora, which literally means “four times.” There are four sets of Ember Days each calendar year; three days each – Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday. Ember Days fall at the start of a new season and they are ordered as days of fast and abstinence. The significance of the days of the week are that Wednesday was the day Christ was betrayed, Friday was the day He was crucified, and Saturday was the day He was entombed.
According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, the purpose of Ember Days, “besides the general one intended by all prayer and fasting, was to thank God for the gifts of nature, to teach men to make use of them in moderation, and to assist the needy.”
These times are spent fasting and partially abstaining (voluntary since the new Code of Canon Law) in penance and with the intentions of thanking God for the gifts He gives us in nature and beseeching Him for the discipline to use them in moderation. The fasts, known as "Jejunia quatuor temporum," or "the fast of the four seasons," are rooted in Old Testament practices of fasting four times a year:
The Ember Days are celebrated with fasting (no food between meals) and half-abstinence, meaning that meat is allowed at one meal per day. (If you observe the traditional Friday abstinence from meat, then you would observe complete abstinence on an Ember Friday.)
Ember Days are days favored for priestly ordinations, prayer for priests, first Communions, almsgiving and other penitential and charitable acts, and prayer for the souls in Purgatory. Note that medieval lore says that during Embertides, the souls in Purgatory are allowed to appear visibly to those on earth who pray for them.