Showing posts with label weather. Show all posts
Showing posts with label weather. Show all posts

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Tuesday's Folklore Photo - Red Sky at Night - Weather Lore

Red sky at sunset.
It has been a while since we've posted a folklore photo.  So today I posted a picture taken a couple of years ago at my pop's cabin.  I had a hard time finding a photo which related to Newfoundland weather lore although I came across lots of sources about Newfoundland weather on the DAI.

Last week's snow and everyone's complaints about St. John's having snow in May made me think of the folk belief that May snow had special properties.  Both folklorist Dale Jarvis and archivist Larry Dohey have written about it in their blogs.  You can click here for Dale's post and here for Larry's for more information.

Today I figured I would ask the question: What beliefs do you know about the weather?

I posted the picture of the sunset with the red sky because as a child I always heard the rhyme:
Red sky at night,
Sailor's delight,
Red sky in morning,
Sailor's take warning.

What are some of the other ways to foretell the weather?  Do you know any other warnings?

I've always heard of galing cats predicting a storm.  Do you know any other animals who can predict the weather?

Comment here or send an email to

Here are two beliefs sent in by Berk Reynolds originally from Salmon Cove, Conception Bay North:
1. Animals, particularly goats coming home from the hills before a storm in summer
(or when you wouldn't expect them)

2. Whatever the prevailing wind direction is at noon on Good Friday so it will be for the summer


Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Tuesday Folklore Photo: Stormy Old St. John's

I feel like this happens every year - we think we are out of the woods with winter and that spring is on our doorstep, when suddenly another big storm hits! I've been fooled a couple times this year already. This trend, unfortunately, is nothing new, and something that St. John's has been dealing with for decades. Newfoundlanders have become very adept at dealing with the harsh weather, and sometimes need to rely on back up plans for transportation when your regular vehicle just couldn't cut it.

This weeks folklore photo is of New Gower Street from 1925 - and as you can see, even this young man riding on his trusty Tauntaun is having a tough time with the winter weather! Tauntauns were used as pack animals, and also served as patrol mounts when the Rebel Alliance's vehicles couldn't deal with the cold weather. I could have certainly used one this past winter!

(Just kidding - only a little April Fool's fun! This photo actually comes from the Tumblr Old Timey St. John's - you should check it out - it's incredible!)

Monday, March 18, 2013

Brushing up on your Sheila folklore

Perhaps the most memorable of those occasions was on the night of 'Sheila's Brush,' which is to say the 18th of March. Newfoundland has two 'brushes,' Patrick's and Sheila's; that is to say, storms supposed to be connected with the birthday of St Patrick and that of his wife... The word 'brush' is not always used, however; you will hear Newfoundlanders say: 'We have our Sheila dis time o' year.'
- George Allan England, 1877—1936, Vikings of the Ice (Garden City: Doubleday, Page & Company, 1924) as quoted in the Dictionary of Newfoundland English
I'm waking up this morning to snow, reports of school closures in other parts of the province, and Twitter and Facebook status updates mentioning Sheila's Brush. In Newfoundland English, a brush is a "sudden gust of wind, a spell of wet weather; a [snow] storm." You can read up on more Newfoundland snow words on the DNE blog, Twig.

Most Newfoundlanders, I suspect, know that Sheila's Brush refers to a snowstorm after St. Patrick's Day. Some say it is meant to represent Sheila sweeping up after St. Patrick. Who Sheila is supposed to be, exactly, is something of a mystery, be she wife, sister, maid or mistress. 

For info on that other Sheila, check out Dr. Philip Hiscock's A Perfect Princess: The Twentieth-Century Legend of Sheila na Geira and Gilbert Pike.

Note on image above: Photo by rebfoto. If you know the name of the original mural artist, post a comment!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

St. Swithin's Day Weather Lore

Happy, glorious bright sunny St. Swithin's Day (at least in St. John's).

"July 15th of each year was St. Swithin's Day and always acknowledged throughout Newfoundland," writes Newfoundland author Jack Fitzgerald in his book Ghosts and Oddities. The following weather-forecasting rhyme was often recited on the day:

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 (or "no more" in some variants)

For details on the tradition, see the Catholic Encyclopedia at:

and for a fabulous scanned text of the full St. Swithin legend, see

Newfoundland also has its own St. Swithin's church, in Seal Cove, recorded on the Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador's website at: