If it rains on St. Swithin’s day then it will continue to rain for a further forty days.
Hurray! Hurray! It was sunny and hot hot hot in Urmston today! (24 degrees). Hopefully we will have another nice Summer.
St. Swithin was a Saxon Bishop of Winchester and was originally buried (at his request), in a humble outside grave at Winchester.
9 years later the monks at Winchester moved his remains to a magnificent shrine inside Winchester cathedral on 15 July 971. Legend says that during the ceremony it began to rain and continued to do so for forty days.
It is also the longest day of the year (…..and the shortest night of the year).
It was a medieval custom to collect flowers on the longest day (ie for their healing properties). Typically, Apothecaries would gather herbs on this day (eg St John’s Wort, Chamomile, Geraniums, and Thyme).
To celebrate, they would light a bonfire and dance around it. Flowers collected on this day would release their fragrant aromas when thrown on bonfire (to eradicate bad luck and negative energy).
Mother’s day is on the fourth Sunday of Lent (in the UK). It is usually 3 weeks before Easter Sunday (which is late this year).
So why do we give flowers on Mothering Sunday?
The tradition comes from a time when young children (who were ‘in service’ to other households) returned home on the 4th Sunday of Lent to attend church with their families. They would gather wild flowers as they walked, to take to the church or give to their mothers (and daffodils were the flower in natural abundance at that time of year).
This tradition has changed over the years, but the giving of the humble daffodil is still my favourite! After all….who wouldn’t love a golden bunch of daffodils on Mother’s Day!