Posted by: penpatience | January 1, 2021


WRITERS WORDS:  Winter Lore: “The north wind doth blow, and we shall have snow.” “If snow begins at mid of day, expect a foot of it to lay.” – The Old Farmer’s Almanac




     It’s winter. It’s cold outside. Snow has already fallen in the hills and mountains of many northern and mid-western states including a recent three-footer Nor’easter to insure a white Christmas. Since the pandemic reared its ugly head, many people have become stay-at-home folks and what better way to begin the New Year 2021 with some humor, “old-wives’ tales, legends, myths and customs as expressed by specific groups of people generally known as FOLKLORE.

Merriam-Webster defines Folklore: “Traditional customs, tales, sayings, dances or art forms preserved among a people.”  Wikipedia defines Folklore: “the expressive body of culture shared by a particular group of people, encompasses the traditions common to culture, subculture or group. These include oral traditions such as tales, proverbs and jokes.” A couple of known examples: The coyote appears in much of Native American folklore and Paul Bunyan is a figure from folklore.

“Goldilocks and The Three Bears” – Goldilocks” made herself comfy, ate the tasty-aromatic porridge in the bear’s lair and managed to escape upon their return. “Little Red Riding Hood” almost became a canny wolf’s supper and kids of yesteryear loved these, sometimes scary, fairytales.  And, my mother-in-law, now deceased for many years, believed unfortunate events happened to you in threes and, always, there was a birth for a death. (“Edythe with a Y,” my non-fiction memoir of Edythe was published in the May 2012 issue of the former Storyteller Magazine.)

Here are some interesting sayings, old wives’ tales, proverbs: (from the 2020 Folklore, Old Farmer’s Almanac)

“If the old year goes out like a lion, the New Year will come in like a lamb.”

“When you move to a new house, always enter first with a loaf of bread and a new broom. Never bring an old broom into the house.”

“Wolves always howl more before a storm. When cattle lie down in the pasture, it indicates early rain.”

“According to folklore, babies born the day after the full moon enjoy success and endurance.”

Proverb: “A year of snow, crops will grow.” Explanation: A several inch layers of snow contain more air than ice. Trapped between the interlocking      snowflakes, the air serves to insulate the plants beneath it.  When the snow melts the water helps to keep the ground moist😊

Wedding Superstition: “Snow on your wedding day is a sign of fertility and prosperity.”

     “So, whether we resolve to return borrowed farm equipment (as did the Babylonians) or drop a few pounds, we’re tapping into an ancient and powerful longing for a fresh start.”

The forecast for the New Year 2021 although overshadowed by the Covid-19 pandemic will, hopefully, bring peace, prosperity and returned health (via vaccination) to the universe for all peoples.

Ah yes, my deceased mother-in-law, I still hear her voice advising me I left out her favorite remonstrance: “you must learn to take the bitter with the sweet.”

To all Readers & Writers:  Thank you for your unfailing support of Monthly Musings over the past nine years. This year, along with viewers and followers within the United States, the site enjoyed views from readers in nineteen other countries.  I continue to welcome your comments and “Likes.” Please note that comments are only read only by this Author.

May you all have a Safe, Healthy and Happy New Year 2021.





  1. Tis interesting what is considered folklore. Your reference comparison of the Coyote in First Nations stories to Paul Bunyon brought that to my mind. Is Daniel in the Lion’s Den a fable/folklore? I would say yes. But would my categorization offend those who read the bible as literal truth. Probably. I would stick by my categorization because of the nature of that story itself even in the face of the objection. But I stand outside the religious tradition of that story and I also recognize that. I get into this trouble all the time because I speak against the definition of myth as something false as in “that is a myth”. Many ancient Greek myths were creation stories and some were sacred stories of people touched by the gods, and some were good entertainment and recognized as such. Dismissing them as myth in the sense of being untrue takes away the spiritual truth in them. Some may not recognize them as “biblical” but they often were “cannon” to those people in those times. Animals in first nation stories have impact in this way still. This is a side conversation to the thrust of your essay, but it came to mind so I thought I would share.


  2. Hi Jana, I enjoyed reading your comment. I receive a lot of info from The Old Farmer’s Almanac publications I receive. When I read the folklore, somehow I couldn’t help thinking about my deceased mother-in-law and her sayings and proverbs, etc.
    I agree with our comment, “some may not recognize them as ‘biblical< but they often were "cannon" to those people in those times." Thanks for sharing.


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