Ice Saints bring cold spells, night frost

Petra Lessoing
Kaiserslautern American

***image1***For centuries, farmers and gardeners in Germany and some other mid-European countries are mostly afraid of the “Ice Saints,” which come Tuesday to May 15. They bring cold spells and night frost.
Yearlong observances by meteorologists prove of late cold snaps. The Ice Saints usually come May 11 through 15. They are not always reliable, but at 60 percent accurate.
That’s why farmers don’t drive their cattle to pasture and gardeners don’t plant anything sensitive before mid-May.
Also, people who like to decorate their balconies with geraniums and other flowers wait until after mid-May.
The Ice Saints are named after their patrons. May 11 is St. Mamertus, May 12 is St. Pankratius, May 13 is St. Servatius, May 14 is St. Bonifatius and May 15 is St. Sophie, who also is called by her nickname “Cold Sophie.”
Other old farmers’ rules say that when “Urban” (May 25) has passed, it is safe to take care of the sensitive planting.

People should wait to put out their balcony flowers until after mid-May.