Cold Sophie and the Ice Saints
St. Mamertus, St. Pancras, St. Servatius, and St. Bonifatius, are referred to as the ‘Ice Saints’ in Austria, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Poland, and Switzerland. The days to commemorate them fall on May 11, May 12, May 13, May 14, and St. Sophie on May 15. The American Farmer's’ Almanac predicts for these days, a brief spell of colder weather and the last frosty night before the warmer weather moves in for good. Between the European and American oral traditions, one might ask if this is only folklore, or is there some truth to it?
Observations of weather patterns over many years have shown, however, that a drop in temperatures occurs frequently only around May 20. Are the Ice Saints not in tune anymore? There is also a very simple explanation and it deals with a calendar reform in 1582. Pope Gregory VIII introduced the Gregorian calendar and corrected the Julian calendar in the length of the year. By doing so he had to skip 10 days, which means that Cold Sophie is really on May 20.
Nowadays, the daily news informs us of the weather and those old folklore stories might fade away soon. I hope not. They are based on history and tradition, from which wisdom- by definition, is derived.