Home > Italian customs, Weather > The Days of the Blackbird, and the Days of the Old Man and the Old Woman

The Days of the Blackbird, and the Days of the Old Man and the Old Woman

Very cheerful, but not coltsfoot

Very cheerful, but not coltsfoot

I scrambled down a bank today to look at these yellow flowers, thinking they might be coltsfoot – a real sign of spring. They aren’t, of course.

The beautiful weather we’ve had over the last few days is not a good thing, though.

According to Italian tradition, the last 3 days of January are the Days of the Blackbird.

The name comes from a legend in which a pure white dove, staying through the winter to give comfort to a sick person, shelters in a chimney and turns black.

Weather statistics confirm that these are usually cold days, and if they’re particularly cold (it’s said) we get an early, beautiful spring.

If they’re warm, however, we get a late one. 😦

I mentioned this to Angela, our cleaning lady, who knew about it.

She also told me the Albanian legend of the Old Man and the Old Woman which explains why there are always 3 fine days in March and 3 bad ones in April.

When April arrived, this old couple badmouthed March as a terrible month. March got to hear of it and said: “April, brother, lend me 3 days.”

So April agreed to a swap and the 3 exchange days of harsh weather in April caught the old people out after they’d taken their sheep up the mountain.

They froze to death, along with their sheep.

Serve them right 😉 for grumbling about the weather!!

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