Friday, 15 July 2011

Today is...

...St. Swithin's Day.

St. Swithin's Day is 15 July, a day on which people watch the weather for tradition says that whatever the weather is like on St. Swithin's Day, it will continue so for the next forty days.

There is a weather-rhyme that has been well known throughout the British Isles since Elizabethan times. copied from

'St. Swithin's day if thou dost rain
For forty days it will remain
St. Swithin's day if thou be fair
For forty days 'twill rain nae mair.'

dost = does
thou = you
nae mair = no more.

Who was St. Swithin?

St. Swithin (or more properly, Swithun) was a Saxon Bishop of Winchester. He was born in the kingdom of Wessex and educated in its capital, Winchester. He was famous for charitable gifts and building churches.

Why do people watch the weather on St. Swithin's day?

A legend says that as the Bishop lay on his deathbed, he asked to be buried out of doors, where he would be trodden on and rained on. For nine years, his wishes were followed, but then, the monks of Winchester attempted to remove his remains to a splendid shrine inside the cathedral on 15 July 971. According to legend there was a heavy rain storm either during the ceremony or on its anniversary.

This led to the old wives' tale (folklore) that if it rains on St Swithin's Day (July 15th), it will rain for the next 40 days in succession, and a fine 15th July will be followed by 40 days of fine weather. copied from

However, according to the Met Office, this old wives' tale is nothing other than a myth. It has been put to the test on 55 occasions*, when it has been wet on St Swithin's Day and 40 days of rain did not follow. copied from

Although today has been sunny & bright in the South East of England, there has been rain in parts of the country which have lead to the newspapers saying there might be some true in this saying afterall - the long term forecast is rain, rain & more rain (starting with this weekend grrrrrrrrrrrr)so I'll be waiting to see...Old Wive's tale, Urban myth or an element of truth......................


The Crafty Elf said...

Wow...what a great post! So interesting to hear how things or holidays etc. come about. As soon as I hear rain, the fur on my back stood up. You see in my little world rain means "bad hair day". Not even going to go there!

Paula - Buenos Aires said...

Thanks for the story! It´s cool to learn from every place in the world through the locals.

Winnie said...

What a great myth/story! Thanks for the history lesson. Keep us updated as to how the weather is panning out! Sorry for not commenting on all your posts, I've been kinda busy (LOL) - your cards have been awesome though!

Bubbles said...

Touch of truth... definitely :) I love all these old wives tales. I've always lived on the south coast, and when I was a little girl my granddad taught me to cross two sticks on the ground when I saw a rainbow to cross out the bad luck. Apparently that's just a southern thing.
Today here, we've had blasting heat (a.m), a cooling breeze (midday), getting gusty and drizzly (p.m), followed by downpours (evening). So... I'm guessing the St Swithuns Day Wives Tale could be exactly true this year - I'm guessing all that weather will appear over the next forty days :)

Sue said...

I do hope its not true..we had a bit of everything yesterday so it probably is :D Currently chucking it down now :(

Walk in the Woods said...

Thank you for sharing St. Swithin with us … I learned something new. And I love the rhyme!

Kim Dellow said...

I had completely forgotten about St Swithin's Day! Thanks for the reminder, and I never knew the story behind it! S great to learn more about it Toni :) Have a great weekend. Kim

Linda said...

WOW!! Thanks for sharing this story.. Very Interesting..
Hugs, Linda