Happy 15 July, aka Apple Christening Day, aka St Swithins Day
Today is 15 July, which is St Swithin's Day. But did you know that 15 July is also known as Apple Christening Day?
St Swithin's Day
15 July is St Swithin's (or alternatively Swithun's) Day. And the weather, from now through to the end of July and August, is said to be determined by whatever the weather is like on 15 July.
St Swithin was a ninth century Anglo-Saxon bishop of Winchester and, according to legend, was tutor to a young King Alfred the Great.
On his deathbed, St Swithin is said to have asked to be buried outside Winchester Cathedral. He asked for this because, it is said, he wanted his grave to be exposed to both the footsteps of worshippers and the outside elements.
But in the 10th century, some priests who didn't get the memo decided to move the tomb, to a shrine inside the Cathedral. This move was followed by torrential rain storm, which was taken as a sign of St Swithin's displeasure.
This sparked the proverb which is known to this 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.'
Which roughly translates as: if it rains on St Swithin's Day, it will keep raining for 40 days. But if it's sunny on 15 July, then it will be sunny for the following 40 days.
Apple Christening Day
Raindrops and apples are associated with St Swithin, because of the rainstorm and also the apple trees he planted. According to Charles Raymond Dillon's book Superstitions and Folk Remedies, apple growers hope for rain on 15 July to bless and water the orchards. Presumably to be sure of a good harvest in the Autumn.
So if I want sun for my allotment I don't want it to rain on 15 July, but if I want lots of apples then I do want it to rain.
What a dilemma.
So assuming the apples are great later this year, you'll be all set to make cider.
However if it were to happen that we didn't have a good crop of Apples for autumnal cider making, you could always try one of our great cider kits :)
And what sort of weather can the UK expect for the next 40 days? Well, I imagine cloud, rain, sun and mizzle. Call me psychic..
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Other Almost Off Grid Favourites:
A Beginner's Guide to Making Cider from Apples
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Beginner's Guide to Making Wine from Fruit and Flowers