Although weather folklore exists for every part of the year, and for nearly every type of weather phenomenon, much of the body of traditional lore surrounds snow. How do you know how much snow we’re going to get this year? How long will the snow stay on the ground once it arrives? Does a snowy year mean anything for the coming growing season?
Because of snow’s starring role in the lore of yore, many of the old weather sayings that have come down to us through the years are about December—the month when many of us expect to see the first snows of the year, and Christmas, the one day many of us hope to see snow, even if we don’t want it on any other day of the year.
Here’s a look at a small sampling of the weather lore surrounding the month of December in general, and Christmas in particular. How many of these do you know?
December/Christmas Weather Lore
- Rain before Mass on the first Sunday in December means rain for a week.
- On St. Thomas’s Day (December 21) the winter takes its full power.
- When Christmas Eve is clear, our Lord will give us an abundance of wine and corn.
- White Christmas, green Easter. Green Christmas, white Easter.
- If December is rainy, mild and unsettled, the winter will not be harsh.
- If December is cold and the earth is covered with snow, next year’s rye will be in abundance.
- If there’s thunder during Christmas week, the winter will be anything but meek.
- The nearer the New Moon to Christmas Day, the harder the winter.
- If Christmas Day be bright and clear, there’ll be two winters in the year.
- A green Christmas brings a heavy harvest.
- A green Christmas makes a fat churchyard.
- So many hours of Sun on Christmas Day, so many frosts in the month of May.
- If the Sun shines through an apple tree on Christmas, there will be an abundant crop of apples in the coming year.
- If it rains on Christmas, there will be four weeks with no sun.
- The wind at the end of Midnight Mass will be the dominant wind in the coming year.
- A windy Christmas is a sign of a good year to come.
- If there is much wind on Christmas Day, trees will bear much fruit.
- If the wind grows stormy before sunset on Christmas, expect sickness in the coming spring and autumn.
- If it snows on Christmas night, there will be a good crop of hops next year.
- If at Christmas, ice hangs on the willow, then clover may be cut at Easter.
- Light Christmas, light wheatsheaf; Dark Christmas, heavy wheatsheaf.
- A bright Christmas foretells that hens will lay well.
- A dark Christmas foretells that cows will give much milk.
- If St. Lucy’s Day (December 13) be bright, Christmas day will be dark with snow;
but if the snow falls on St. Lucy, Christmas will be clear and sunny.
- If ice will bear a man at Christmas, it will not bear a mouse afterward.