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How’s the weather…for the next 40 days?

By Sophia Wood-Burgess

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Today is St. Swithin’s Day, a delightful, yet lesser-known holiday, and so classically British because it's all about the weather. Read the history of July 15, and keep an eye on the sky.

Westminster in sun Westminster in rain
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St Swithin, beloved Bishop of Winchester was a humble and kind man, and the few stories we have from his life include miracles that benefitted the daily lives of the people of his diocese – stories like how he restored the broken eggs that had dropped from an elderly women’s basket.

St Swithin made a deathbed request. He did not want a tomb in a place of prominence in Winchester Cathedral, he wished to be buried in the churchyard, open to the rain, the sun and footsteps of passing townspeople headed in to pray.

For years they respected his wish, until eventually, his body was removed to be enshrined in the church. And sure enough, for the next 40 days, storms raged in Winchester.

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.

- Scottish proverb

Rain or Shine?

So, let’s all hope for some sunshine today. So the story goes, whatever the weather on July 15th, that’ll be the forecast for the next 40 days. However, in London, it can be raining one minute and sunny the next, and the proverb isn’t quite clear on what that means. Best pack your umbrella, just in case.

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