When a blackbird sings before Christmas she will cry before CandlemasMeaning that it may be tempted by warm late December weather to mate too soon and rue the consequences. This unseasonable weather that is also believed to be bad for human health for as the saying goes ‘a green Yule makes a fat churchyard’.
The blackbird, a favourite garden resident, builds its nest of grass, lined with mud, in bushes and hedges during the winter months. On winter nights it is the last bird to be heard at sunset as it raises its whistling, rather raucous voice before settling down to roost for the night. These calls are easy to distinguish from the liquid songs of the mating season which are almost concerts by comparison.
For humans, unseasonably warm winter weather means that the bacteria and viruses that cause disease continue to multiply – often with fatal results. This is almost certainly the explanation of sayings relating such weather with a higher than average death rate.
Even the day of the week on which Christmas falls can be taken as a prediction of the weather that is to come, for example:
If Christmas day on Thursday be,
A windy winter you shall see;
Windy weather in each week,
And hard tempests, strong and thick;
The summer shall be good and dry,
Corn and beasts shall multiply …
A full moon around Christmas day was not welcomed by farmers, for as the rhyme goes:
Light Christmas, light wheatsheaf;
Dark Christmas, heavy wheatsheaf.
‘Four and twenty blackbirds baked in a pie’ might well have once been Christmas fare, along with roast goose and puddings previously made, like mince pies with meat as well as onions, dried fruit and spices.
More Christmas predictions
If the sun whine through the apple-tree on Christmas Day there will be an abundant crop the following year.
If at Christmas ice hangs on the willow, clover may be cut at Easter.
At Christmas meadows green at Easter covered with frost.
So far as the sun shines on Christmas Day, so far will the snow blow in May.
Christmas wet, empty granary and barrel.
From Wise Words and Country Ways: Weather Lore
Taken from the book Wise Words & Country Ways Weather Lore.