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Tuesday was St. Swithin’s Day

St. Swithin’s Day is on 15 July, a day on which people watch the weather for tradition says that whatever the weather is like on St. Swithin’s Day, it will continue so for the next forty days.

There is a weather-rhyme is well known throughout Ireland:

‘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.’

(nae mair = no more.)

Who was St. Swithin?

St. Swithin (or more properly, Swithun) was a Saxon Bishop of Winchester. He was born in the kingdom of Wessex and educated in its capital, Winchester. He was famous for charitable gifts and building churches.

Why do people watch the weather on St. Swithin’s day?

A legend says that as the Bishop lay on his deathbed, he asked to be buried out of doors, where he would be trodden on and rained on. For nine years, his wishes were followed, but then, the monks of Winchester attempted to remove his remains to a splendid shrine inside the cathedral on 15 July 971. According to legend there was a heavy rain storm either during the ceremony or on its anniversary.

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