Summer or Whit Embertide (follows Whitsunday, or the Feast of the Pentecost):
The Summer Embertide is observed in June or July depending on when Pentecost falls that year.
"Gratitude, not penance, is the dominant Ember spirit of the Summer Embertide. Even fasting can be an act of thanksgiving!"Pius Parsch, Year of Grace, Volume 3, Ember WednesdaySeasonal significance: It is a time of thanksgiving for the grain harvest since this was typically the end of the wheat harvest in Mediterranean countries.
Liturgical significance: Summer or Whit Embertide falls within the Octave of Pentecost. It is fitting then that this Embertide, though still a mini-Lenten time of fasting, is characterized by its spirit of thanksgiving and joy at the descent of the Holy Spirit.
Ember Wednesday is a day of partial abstinence (only one meal of meat should be offered on this day). The day is dedicated to Mary, Our Blessed Mother and is a day of interior recollection.
Ember Friday is a day of complete abstinence (no meat is offered today). The day is dedicated to penance.
"For the Lord looks with pleasure upon those who humble themselves, even as He regarded the lowliness of His handmaid."Pius Parsch, Year of Grace, Volume 3, Ember Friday
Ember Saturday is another day of partial abstinence. The day is one of great thanksgiving - thanksgiving for the seasonal harvest of wheat, thanksgiving for the spiritual harvest after the abundant graces given throughout the Easter season, and thanksgiving for the harvest of vocations and those men preparing for ordination in the service of Holy Mother Church.
Menu ideas for the Summer Ember Days could reflect the seasonal offerings for your area for the summer months. I was inspired by Mary's Confirmation Party Foods post, so I'm adding my offerings for the Summer Ember Days to include some seasonal produce that continue to focus on Pentecost as we find the Summer Ember Days nestled in the Octave of Pentecost.
Layer granola, vanilla yogurt and sliced strawberries in a dish. The red slices of strawberries can be arranged in the parfait to resemble the tongues of fire/descent of the Holy Spirit. This cool and light dish makes a wonderful breakfast or afternoon snack. I thought it would be symbolic to arrange thirteen strawberry tongues of fire - one for each of the apostles, as well as one for Our Lady, also present at Pentecost.
Gifts of the Holy Spirit Pasta Salad
Choose a favorite pasta. We prefer Rotini because the spiral shape is great for holding the dressing. You could also choose a whole wheat pasta to reflect the thanksgiving of this Ember season for the harvest of wheat. Cook your pasta to desired done-ness. Rinse the pasta with cold water to cool it and then allow it to drain for a couple of minutes - a drier pasta will hold the dressing better.
Add in 7 items to round out your pasta salad (7 to represent the 7 gifts of the Holy Spirit). If you're having trouble finding seven things on this list that your family likes, you could certainly count the pasta, the olives in the olive oil dressing as well as the grape forming the basis of the red wine vinegar (also in the dressing) - so that leaves you with four things to add to your pasta salad. Some of our favorite additions are:
:: black beans
:: frozen sweet green peas
:: sweet corn kernels (frozen or sliced off a fresh ear)
:: broccoli florets
:: sweet green bell peppers
:: sweet red bell peppers
:: cherry tomatoes
Make a simple dressing using a packet of dry Italian dressing seasoning mix, 1/4 cup of a good red wine vinegar, and 3/4 of a cup of extra virgin olive oil. Pour these over the top of the pasta salad, mix thoroughly, refrigerate for a couple of hours and enjoy. By no means are you limited by the suggestions above! Brainstorm some favorite seasonal produce and add them in. This dish is a wonderful summer meal, and the addition of black beans gives it a heartiness with a bit of protein!
Fresh Summer Tomato Sandwich
Use a very good bread for this - again, a whole grain bread would be most appropriate for the seasonal focus. Layer the following together to form a sandwich:
:: 2 slices of hearty whole wheat bread
:: Tomato slices
:: Fresh mozzarella (it's so worth it to buy a good mozzarella for this sandwich)
:: Fresh greens - basil leaves, arugula, salad greens or alfalfa sprouts all make excellent sandwiches or you could use sliced avocado
:: Mayonnaise or plain yogurt to spread on the slices of bread.
:: Salt and Pepper to taste
God bless you during the Summer Embertide!
"We are temples of the Spirit of Christ! Week in, week out it will be a mutual task for the Holy Ghost and ourselves to adorn this temple more perfectly. Deeply grateful we say farewell to the Easter season - many indeed were the blessings we received."Pius Parsch, Year of Grace, Volume 3, Ember SaturdayPin It