Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Les Saints de Glace

Despite the French insistence that they live in a lay society, the remnants of Catholicism are everywhere from the multiple holidays that will be celebrated nationally this month (the Ascension and Pentecost) to the summaries of the life of each day's special saint that appear in the newspaper right next to the horoscope, TV schedule, and crossword puzzle.

In olden times, May 11, 12, and 13 were dedicated to Saints Mamert, Pancrasse, and Servais; today, they have been replaced by Saints Estelle, Achille, and Rolande. Yet the old names still have resonance for gardeners for whom they are the "saints de glace." Their days mark the time when it is safe to plant, when all threat of frost is over. And the statistics kept by modern day meterologists confirm the tradition. No frost in the forecast for Paris this week although it is damp and chilly enough to seem like winter has returned after the glorious days of late April.


Karin (an alien parisienne) said...

Thanks for this! I have been wondering why it has been so chilly lately. Those goshdarn saints (I'm blaming them, lol)! I got a kick out of reading the French Wiki article on the Saints de glace, too, but in the Google Translate version -- the parts about Queen Margot, especially. :D

Cute cartoon to go with this post, too.

Thanks, Anne.

debbie in toronto said...

over here we don't plant until after the Queen's birthday (Victoria that is) May 24th and a good thing too since it SNOWED a bit this past Sunday (Mother's day)..snow in May...this week is also cold and wet..seems the weather this year is backwards..nice April...cold May.

Starman said...

Ah,. Paris in the spring.



Eli said...

Ground frost forecast for London tonight and the next few days! And snow in Scotland - guessing the saints don't apply here!

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