Ember Weeks

A corruption of quatuor tempora, through the Dutch quatemper and German quatember. The four times are after Quadragesima Sunday, Whit Sunday, Holyrood Day (September), and St. Lucia's Day (December). The supposition that persons sat in embers (or ashes) on these days is without foundation.

Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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