Ne’er cast a clout

Late April and early May can often be beset by the last blast of winter, when a cold wind sends temperatures falling. Since this frequently coincides with the flowering of the blackthorn, which turns the hedgerows white with blossom, the cold snap is known as a “blackthorn winter”.

The same holds true in the warning Cast not a clout, till May is out, which cautions against shedding winter clothing too early in the year. There is some debate whether the “May” referred to in the rhyme is the month of May or the hawthorn, which is known by the same name and also blooms in May. So some hold that the proverb warns “do not begin discarding warm clothing until the hawthorn blossoms”, while others maintain that you need to “wait until the end of May before opening the summer wardrobe”. Let`s hope that the sun will shine during May, but keep the jumper and raincoat handy!

  • May 1 may be Labour Day in the USA, but in 1966 the World Tramps Congress in Argentina decreed that May 2 shall be the International Day of Idleness.
  • No month of the year either begins or ends on the same day as May.
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Ronald