Saint Swithin's Day

Saint Swithin's Day Quick Facts

2023 Date15 July 2023
Saint Swithin's Day

Saint Swithin's Day History

Saint Swithin's Day commemorates the life and deeds of Saint Swithin, the patron saint of Winchester and a ninth-century Anglo-Saxon bishop. For more than a millennium, the name of Saint Swithin has held a special place in the hearts of the British people, becoming a symbol of kindness, humility, and wisdom. The lasting remembrance of this pious figure is rooted not only in church history but also has a strong connection to one of the most intriguing legends and beliefs in the British Isles.

Swithin, or Swithun, was appointed Bishop of Winchester in 852, and during his ten years in office, he became known for his piety, altruism, and humility. Legend has it that he requested to be buried outside Winchester Cathedral, where rain and the footsteps of passers-by might wet his grave. In 971, however, his remains were moved to a shrine within the cathedral on July 15, and, as the legend goes, a heavy rainfall commenced for 40 days and 40 nights. This gave rise to the popular British belief that if it rains on Saint Swithin's Day, the rain will continue for 40 consecutive days, while a dry day on July 15 will ensure a prolonged period of sunny weather.

In honour of Saint Swithin, British people have been observing his feast day on July 15, for over a thousand years. The day serves as a reminder of Swithin's gentle nature and acts of charity in his life and invites people to ponder upon their own good deeds and values. While weather predictions associated with the day are frequently not accurate, the tale of Saint Swithin's Day continues to pique curiosity, providing a touch of mysticism and charm that has endured for centuries.

Saint Swithin's Day References and Related Sites Tara Celebrations St Swithins

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