What’s the weather doing outside your window today?
July 15th is St. Swithin’s Day, a church holiday honoring St. Swithin (also spelled Swithun), a medieval Ango-Saxon bishop and the patron saint of Winchester Cathedral in Hampshire, England from 852 to 862.
We’ve written about St. Swithin before, particularly about the bit of old folklore that states that the weather on St. Swithin’s Day will determine the weather for the next 40 days.
If on St. Swithin’s Day, ye do rain
for forty days, it will remain.
If on St Swithin’s Day, it be fair
For forty days, t’will rain no more.
St. Swithin asked to be 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.
In addition to his role in this old lore, St. Swithin is also one of the saints traditionally prayed to during periods of drought.
Is There Any Truth To It?
Like many weather lore sayings, this one has been passed down from generations. And as far as record keeping goes back, there hasn’t been rain or sun for 40 days following the weather on St. Swithin’s Day that historians can locate. While the thought of 40 days rain isn’t likely very appealing to most, chances are it doesn’t sound too bad to those experiencing drought conditions.
For those of you sweating it out under hot, dry skies, here’s hoping, in the name of St. Swithin, that you get your rain soon!