Watching the mountain fog hugging Saddleback Mountain with the faintest glow of dawn cresting over while drinking some fresh roasted coffee and listening to Vivaldi’s Autumn Concerto is how one should properly celebrate the change of the season.
The 3rd week of September has always had a special place in my heart… it marks the beginning of Autumn, the transition in to the cooler months of the year, Holidays and Feasting on the horizon; I just love this time of year! We have the Fall harvest with it’s amazing bounty of foods and we have the wine harvest with it’s delicious libation that brings joy to the hearts of men.
Ancient Catholic and Mediterranean Traditions going back thousands of years called Ember Days in English and more appropriately Quattro Tiempore in Latin AKA the Fast of the Four Seasons called for setting aside a special time to acknowledge and celebrate the rhythm of life and the change of the Seasons.. For countless centuries 3 days of each quarter were put aside as a fast, as a time to give homage to God and the beauty of nature, as a time to detox the body and soul in preparation for a new season and a fresh start. There is a super detailed write up on Ember Days here and a great write up on the Autumn Ember Days here. If you have some time they make for some fascinating reading on the long history and customs of this holiday.
Now fasting is an interesting concept It flies in the face of everything we know in our modern ultra fast paced instant gratification Me me me society. This idea of having less, delayed gratification, of slowing down and living in harmony with the seasons, giving thanks to God, and feeling a deep and refreshing joy instead of a simple superficial pleasure. These are revolutionary, radical, counter cultural ideas. But the simple fact remains they provided significant physical, spiritual, psychological benefits the different proven time and time again in study after study; not to mention the simple fact that traditional Mediterraneans are some of the healthiest happiest and longest people in the world! You can read my write up on fasting here but put simply it’s good for the body It’s good for the soul.
Traditions are important because they connect the past to the present and guide us towards the future. I’m a big fan of Traditions and living in harmony with the rhythm of life and so I’ll be commemorating the Autumn Ember Days and looking forward to the change in Season and taking some time to really appreciate nature.