On any given day in this province, the weather is a guaranteed to come up in conversation, whether it’s about the current conditions or the forecast. Old wives and salty dogs alike swear by certain signs of upcoming weather, and our lore is so rich there are even rhymes about weather omens to help us remember. The Downhome Dictionary of Newfoundland and Labrador by Ron Young has an entire chapter dedicated to weatherlore. Here are some of the notes it contains on wintry weather.
If Candlemas Day* is fair and fine
The worst of the winter’s left behind.
If Candlemas Day is dark and grum,
The worst of winter is yet to come.
*Candlemas Day is February 2
Thick coats on wild animals indicate a cold winter.
When seals whelp (give birth) it means a heavy snowfall is coming.
Old seals jumping into the water is a sign of wind and snow.
Dreaming of horses is a sign of an impending storm.
Hoar frost (crystallized frost) signals southerly wind and rain.
The weather on the first 12 days of January foretells the weather for the next 12 months.
Clear moon, frost soon.
The closer the ring to the moon or sun,
The further the weather yet to come.
Bright northern lights above the hill,
A fine day, then a storm foretell.
Sheila’s Brush, which is a winter storm just after St. Patrick’s Day, signals a good spring to come.
A green Christmas means a white Easter.
If February gives much snow, a fine summer it doth foreshow.
An abundance of myrrh on evergreen trees signals a very cold winter.
When the winds of October won’t make the leaves go,
There’ll be a frosty winter with banks of snow.