These two liturgical terms belong to the Celebration of Mass before 1969, called the Tridentine Mass or Mass of Saint Pius V.
It was revised in minor ways from the Council of Trent (1545–1563) which promulgated this Mass until Pope John XXIII (1958–1963). Pope Paul VI (1963–1978) promulgated the New Mass, which replaced the Tridentine Rite. However, Pope John Paul II commenced permission for this Mass to be celebrated once again throughout the world according to the local ordinary.
The classification of Liturgical Days according to the Tridentine Rite has many different levels of celebration. A Liturgical Day is one which is sanctified by liturgical services: The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and the Public Prayer of the church, such as the Divine Office. The different kinds of Liturgical Days are as follows.
Sunday: The first day of the week and the most important, liturgically. The yearly cycle of Sundays renews the Life of Christ in all His Mysteries.
Feria: Any day of the week except Sunday. Some ferias possess a special Mass (during Lent and Passion Time); others are assigned the Mass of the preceding Sunday, as indicated in the Missal.
Feasts: A day honoring in a special way the Mysteries of the Lord, the Blessed Mother, the Angels, the Saints, or the Blessed.
Octave: The celebration of the greatest feasts for eight continuous days. Each of these is given a rank, according to its importance: first class, second class, third class, fourth class, or commemoration. This last designation refers to some feasts which do not receive a full liturgical celebration in the Missal and Divine Office, but are treated as feasts being commemorated.
The Missal of 1962, the Tridentine Rite, uses the term Mass of the Seasons; on ferias (liturgical term for any weekday or Saturday) of all classes, the appropriate rubric is given indicating the different Masses that may be said on such days. Ferias of the first class are Ash Wednesday and Days of Holy Week; second class are those from December 17 to 23 and Ember Days of Advent, Lent and September; third class are those from Thursday after Ash Wednesday to Saturday before Palm Sunday, and from the beginning of Advent to December 16. All other weekdays not enumerated above are fourth class.
Ember Days are Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays of four weeks of the year on which fast and abstinence are required. Ember Days occur in Ember Weeks—the week between the third and fourth Sundays of Advent, the week between the first and second Sundays of Lent, the week between Pentecost and Trinity Sunday, and the calendar week after Exaltation of the Holy Cross (September 14). In the Roman tradition Ember Days were associated with farming concerns and included sowing and harvesting festivals. Since 1969 and the New Mass of Pope Paul VI, Ember Days have been replaced with votive Masses for various needs and occasions, and they are not set in the Liturgical Calendar.
Rogation Days are special days of penitential prayer and include Ember Days. In the early church there were two sets of rogation days. The first was commemorated on April 25, the feast of Saint Mark, and the second on the Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday before Ascension Thursday. Specific rogation days were replaced in the New Missal of 1969 by periods of prayer for the needs of people of God. The National Conference of Bishops or the local bishop can decide on its usage.
Traditionally Rogation Days commenced in 470 AD when Saint Mamertus, bishop of Vienne in France, introduced processions and the public recitation of the Litanies after the calamities that had afflicted that country.
In the time of Pope Leo III in 816 AD, these so-called rogations came to be observed in Rome and were given the name of “Lesser Litanies” to distinguish them from the “Greater Litanies” which had been previously established in Rome by Pope Saint Gregory the Great in 598 AD, for April 25 Feast of Saint Mark.
These rogations are earnest prayers to ward off calamities and obtain God’s blessings upon crops.