Posts Tagged ‘weather’

Friday, February 6, 2009

February Fill-Dyke

February page from the Belles Heures February Activity: Warming Before the Fire The Zodiacal Sign of Pisces

Above, from left to right: Calendar page for February, from The Belles Heures of Jean de France, Duc de Berry, 1405???1408/1409. Pol, Jean, and Herman de Limbourg (Franco-Netherlandish, active in France, by 1399???1416). French; Made in Paris. The Cloisters Collection, 1954 (54.1.1); detail of the activity for the month; detail of the zodiacal symbol Pisces. See the Collection Database to learn more about this work of art.

February fill dike
Be it black or be it white;
But if it be white,
The better to like.

???From John Ray???s A Collection of English Proverbs, 1670

Rain or snow, the month of February was associated with precipitation and uncertain weather, and abounded in weather lore. Fine weather on the medieval feast of Candlemas (February 2) signified a long winter, and rainy weather an early spring, long before the American institution of Groundhog Day. The groundhog who may or may not see his shadow had European antecedents in the German badger and the Swiss wolf. Read more »

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

St. Swithun’s Day

Garden Day, 2003

Above: A rainy Garden Day at The Cloisters, 2003. Visitors to Bonnefont Herb Garden were undaunted by the downpour.

Today, July 15, is the feast of St. Swithun, or Swithin; of all the saints’ days traditionally used as weather prognosticators, St. Swithun’s is the most famous and the most long-lived:

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.

Read more »