The Ice Saints are late this year – blackberry winter in Poland

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Poles have enjoyed beautiful and sunny weather recently, but the temperature drop is coming. In the next few days, the period called Cold Sophia (Polish: “Zimna Zośka”) or Cold Gardeners (Polish: “Zimni Ogrodnicy”) will surprise the residents in the north-eastern part of the country. The Ice Saints are late this year but what does it actually mean?

The Ice Saints, namely St. Boniface of Tarsus, St. Pancras, and St. Servatius symbolise the arrival of colder days in spring or early summer. According to the Polish folklore, Poles believe that the so-called three Cold Gardeners (Boniface of Tarsus, St. Pancras, St. Servatus) on their feast days from May 12 to May 14 also spell the weather change. In addition, they are followed by Cold Sophia on May 15, which means the feast day of St. Sophia. 
The arrival of cold days was measured on the basis of long-time observations and the traditional name of this phenomenon is related to the annual religious celebrations – days dedicated to the particular saints; name days.
This part of the year has also its representation in other countries, i.e. blackberry winter in the USA (a period of cold weather that falls when blackberries are flowering), dogwood winteralls also in the USA (when dogwoods are flowering) or blackthorn winter in the UK.
According to the Institute of the Polish Meteorology and Water Management on Twitter,  the May cold snap announced by the gardeners and Sophia will arrive in Poland this week.

 

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