Winter Weather Folklore

Signs in nature of a cold winter? Let's explore weather folklore!

December 23, 2020
Christmas Weather Lore

Weather folklore is a favorite among Almanac readers, and no more so than when it comes to the prognostics of the wintery season. Here are some of our favorite proverbs—including Christmas lore!

When it comes to winter and snow, weather folklore abounds! Look to nature for signs of a cold winter or possibly a very snowy Christmas! Here are some age-old proverbs and adages. Do any of these proverbs ring true to you? Please share observations or questions in the comments below.

If there’s thunder during Christmas week,
The winter will be anything but meek

Christmas and Easter Lore

We’ve often heard weather lore that suggests the weather at Christmastime (winter) affects the weather at Easter (spring):

Christmas in snow, Easter in mud!  

Another proverb says the same thing in a different way:

Green Christmas, white Easter.

And similarly:

At Christmas meadows green, at Easter covered with frost.

So many hours of Sun on Christmas Day, so many frosts in the month of May.

If ice will bear a man before Christmas, it will not bear a mouse afterward.


Christmas Lore and the Harvest

Much of the traditional weather folklore was about predicting the following year’s harvest:

If there is much wind on Christmas Day, trees will bear much fruit.

A windy Christmas is a sign of a good year to come.

A green Christmas brings a heavy harvest.

If at Christmas ice hangs on the willow, clover may be cut at Easter.

When Christmas Eve is clear, our Lord will give us an abundance of wine and corn.

If the Sun shines through an apple tree on Christmas, there will be an abundant crop of apples in the coming year.

If December be changeable and mild, The whole winter will remain a child.

If the wind blows much on Stephen’s Day (December 26), the grapes will be bad in the next year.


Winter Lore

Though Christmas Day is an easy calendar date to hang your hat on, there are also many general proverbs and prognostications focused on frost and snow.

Three white frosts and next a storm.

Heavy frosts are generally followed by fine, clear weather.

The north wind doth blow, and we shall have snow.

Snow for a se’nnight (week) is a mother to the earth, for ever after a stepmother.

When snow falls in the mud, it remains all winter.

When the first snowflakes are large, the snowstorm will be a lasting one. When they are small, the storm will be a short one.

If snow begins at mid of day, expect a foot of it to lay.

When the snow falls dry, it means to lie. But flakes light and soft bring rain oft.

When snow melts off the roof, the next storm will be rain. When the snow blows off, reckon on snow.

The date of the first snow foretells the number of snowstorms for the winter. Should the year’s first snow, for example, come down on the 12th of the month, you can expect 12 more storms before the winter’s done.

We hope you enjoyed this winter weather folklore. For a winter forecast geared to the coming year, check out this year’s edition of The Old Farmer’s Almanac!

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