Frost Saints' Days

Frost Saints' Days

May 11, 12, 13
These three consecutive days in May mark the feasts of St. Mammertus, St. Pancras, and St. Servatus. In the wine-growing districts of France, a severe cold spell occasionally strikes at this time of year, inflicting serious damage on the grapevines. Although scientists claim that the unseasonable frost is caused by air currents blowing off a late breakup of polar ice in the north, some in rural France have believed that it is the result of their having offended one of the three saints, who for this reason are called the "frost saints."
In Germany, too, feelings toward these three saints are mixed, especially among those whose livelihood depends on agriculture. They call them "the three severe lords," and farmers believe that their crops are not safe from frost until May 13 has passed. French farmers have been known to show their displeasure over a cold snap at this time of year by flogging the statues and defacing the pictures of Mammertus, Pancras, and Servatus.
SOURCES:
DaysCustFaith-1957, p. 122
FolkWrldHol-1999, p. 354
OxYear-1999, pp. 204, 205
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