St Swithin's Day

St Swithin's Day

St Swithin's Day

It's almost time. Summer is at hand and the school holidays are soon to be upon us here at Hellion Toys HQ.

If you follow me on social media you will know I'm quite obsessed with the weather. I like to do a daily forecast and check the temperature. It's partly an English trait I think and partly because I love the sunshine. 

Like most working parents this year, I will be juggling toymaking around my own little boy for six weeks and hoping that we can spend some quality time outside too. So as you can imagine, I'm looking ahead to some (hopefully) sunny, dry and bright days.

However I recently came across the legend of St Swithin's Day and how it foreshadows the weather ahead. Taking place on 15th July each year, ancient folklore says that whatever the weather is like on St Swithin's Day - whether rain or sunshine - it will continue for the next 40 days and 40 nights. 

Apparently, this belief originates from Swithin's death. Formally a bishop of Winchester, unlike other religious figures he asked not to be buried in a prominent place within Winchester Cathedral. Instead he wished to be laid to rest outdoors in a simple tomb "where the sweet rain of heaven may fall upon my grave".

For 100 years his remains were buried outside, as was his wish, until the Bishop of Winchester and Archbishop of Canterbury decreed that his remains would be removed to a new shrine inside the Cathedral.

The legend says that after his remains were moved, there was a great storm and it rained for the following 40 days.

The old poem goes like this...
"St Swithin's Day, if it does rain
Full forty days, it will remain
St Swithin's Day, if it be fair
For forty days, t'will rain no more"

So let's cross our fingers and look to the skies on St Swithin's Day, hoping for beautiful sunshine then, and for the 40 days that follow.

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