St. Swithin was a Saxon bishop of Winchester. He was born in the kingdom of Wessex and was famous for being very charitable and building churches.
July 15 is an important day in my life for two reasons: it’s my sister-in-law’s birthday and some might say more importantly, no offence Karen, it’s St. Swithin’s Day!
Grandma and many of our ancestors waited patiently for the 15th of July to roll around. According to folklore, the weather on St. Swithin’s Day, is a snapshot of what’s to come for the next 40 days.
According to the legend, as the bishop lay on his deathbed, he asked to be buried outside, where he could be close to common people and where he would be rained on. For nine years, his wishes were followed, but then, the monks of Winchester moved his remains to a splendid shrine inside the cathedral on, you guessed it, July 15, 971. During the ceremony, a rainstorm rolled through and many believed it was St. Swithin’s show of disapproval.
This led to the weather saying: if it rains on St Swithin’s Day, it will rain for 40 more. While grandma believed this to be accurate, she did not take it literally. She did, however, expect a wet end to the summer season!
Some farmers believe that when it rains on St. Swithin’s Day, it is the saint christening the apples. Apple growers ask St. Swithin for his blessing each year. Grandma always believed that no apple should be picked or eaten before July 15.
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Cindy Day is the chief meteorologist for SaltWire Network.