St. Swithin’s Day – Rain or Shine

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St. Swithin’s Day, (July 15), a day on which, according to folklore, the weather for a subsequent period is dictated. In popular belief, if it rains on St. Swithin’s Day, it will rain for 40 days, but if it is fair, 40 days of fair weather will follow. St. Swithin was bishop of Winchester from 852 to 862. At his request he was buried in the churchyard, where rain and the steps of passersby might fall on his grave. According to legend, after his body was moved inside the cathedral on July 15, 971, a great storm ensued. 

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 no mair.

The above with thanks from Charles Babcock. 

Much of our Church calendar in the Anglican and Roman Catholic Churches developed and become custom in the European Middle Ages.  Western Europeans still use this calendar for their main holidays with important breaks in the school schedule for All Saints’ Day and Carnival/Mardi Gras, the lead-in to Lent.   The Feast of the Assumption on August 15, the date we remember Mary’s Assumption into heaven, is a major holiday for travel in much of Europe.  

Let us not forget St. Barbara’s Day on December 4.  Mr. Babcock cuts a small branch of his cherry tree each year, and we place the branch in water and see if it blossoms.  Each blossom brings joy and is a sign of weddings in the coming year.  According to legend, a cherry tree twig, which Saint Barbara placed in a vase on her way to prison, is said to have blossomed unexpectedly on the day of her death.  Sadly on this day the man who would not accept her refusal to marry him executed her. 

Be alert to today’s weather and enjoy living each year paying attention to the church calendar with high feast days and wonderful legends of saints. 

With every blessing,

Mother Elizabeth