Les Saints de Glace

  Les Saints de glace sont au nombre de trois : Saint Mamert (11 mai), Saint Pancrace (12 mai) et Saint Servais (13 mai).
Selon la tradition populaire, ils ont la réputation d’apporter le froid et la gelée, signature d’un ultime sursaut de l’hiver : « Les Saints Servais, Pancrace et Mamert : à eux trois, un petit hiver ».Ces jours-là ne sont en moyenne pas plus froids que les précédents. Mais, ils correspondent, dans certaines régions, aux dates des gelées les plus tardives observées depuis plusieurs dizaines d’années.
Ils fixent également la date à partir de laquelle le gel n’est généralement plus à craindre, comme l’indique ce deuxième dicton : « Avant Saint Servais point d’été, après Saint Servais point de gelée »    


There are three  ‘Ice Saints’ : Saint Mamert (11th May), Saint Pancras (12th May) and Saint Servais (13th May). According to popular tradition, they have the reputation of bringing cold and frost, the sign of a final burst of Winter.

“Saints Servais, Pancras and Mamert mean a short spell of Winter”

These three days are not usually colder than the previous ones but they correspond, in certain regions, to the dates when the latest frosts have been recorded over several decades.

They also mark the date from which there’s usually no more fear of frost: according to the second saying; “Before St Servais, no Summer: after St. Servais no more frost.”

But this year the three Saints’ Days were marked by unseasonably high temperatures. It was time to sort out the garden, and I finally managed to put the remaining ‘raised beds ‘ in place with a bit of help from Jay, as the ground was rock hard. I’d had an idea to plant peas and beans under plastic, hoping the new shoots would find the sunlight through the holes, but, although the plastic retained water, it also encouraged slugs. So off it came and was replaced by nets (to try to keep the cats from digging) and slug pellets.

Bear did his bit and got out the Karcher (to my horror) . He succeeded in squashing quite a few flowers and still couldn’t get rid of the remaining weeds (after CC and I had pulled up most of them by hand.) There were quite a few forget-me-nots flowering in between the tiles and they looked quite pretty. Not many are left now.

With the wonderful drying weather I changed all the beds a day early, and the cats joined in as usual. Why is it that they love to play about and claw the sheets or roll about on them when you’re trying to make a bed?

6 Responses to “Les Saints de Glace”

  1. BearNaked Says:

    The cats do look adorable on the sheets but I imagine it takes twice the time to make the beds when they are *helping.*

    How right you are. It certainly isn’t worth ironing the sheets when the cats are about.

  2. Susie Vereker Says:

    But remember button up to chin ’til May be in and cast not a clout ’til May be out.
    Good luck with your vegetables.

    My gran always used to quote the second part of the saying when I was a child but I’d never heard the first part till now. Thanks Susie.

  3. emtnest103 Says:

    You *IRON* your sheets!!
    Now I really feel inadequate.

    No I don’t, except when we have guests. I do like the bed in their room to look tidy. I never bother with ours. Thanks for popping in to ‘see’ me.

  4. guyana gyal Says:

    Me and my bad French. For a while I thought ‘Les Saints de glace’ was the ice-cream saints.

    When my sister was a baby and fast asleep, my mother found the cat cuddling the baby, one ‘hand’ around her.

    Ice cream Saints sounds like a good idea. People here joke about the Seins de Glace (as it sounds the same) and I don’t know whether they mean Icey Breasts or Ice Cream Breasts!

  5. Pat Says:

    Bless you for the translation. You need a slow worm for the slugs. Do you have then in France? Not sure about the spelling.

    Yes, Pat. In fact the cats have found them in the garden. They bring bits of slow worm indoors to show off their catch!

  6. Sophie Says:

    well down for the traduction!!
    My dad keeps going on about all the saints business and how it affects the weather. He buys “l’almanach du père Benoît” (or sthg) every year so he can read when “les saints de glace” and other “giboulées de mai” fall & adapt seeding in the garden etc!

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