If you are planning to get your geranium pots on the balcony in Munich these days - don’t. As we’ve seen in the past few days, you never know if it’s going to snow tomorrow and according to the traditional Bavarian belief in the rule of the Eisheilige(n), you should keep your balcony flowers in the warm for another couple of weeks.
Every granny in Munich will tell you that you shouldn’t plant or expose your precious geranium flowers to the potentially frosty nights until after Cold Sophie Day (May 15). To underline this unshakable rule, she’ll quote a host of Bavarian peasant proverbs and wisdoms, such as:
Die kalte Sophie macht alles hie.
Vor Nachtfrost du nie sicher bist, bis Sophie vorüber ist.
Pankraz und Servaz sind zwei böse Brüder,
was der Frühling gebracht, zerstören sie wieder.
All of the above proverbs are comparable to the English “Ne'er cast a clout till May be out.”
The Eisheiligen are the so called Ice or Frost Saints and their respective feast days are:
St. Mamertus - 11 May
St. Pancras - 12 May
St. Servatius - 13 May
St. Boniface - 14 May
St. Sophia (Cold Sophie) - 15 May
Wikipedia teaches us that the period from May 12 to May 15 was noted to bring a brief spell of colder weather in many years, including the last nightly frosts of the spring, in the Northern Hemisphere under the Julian Calendar. The introduction of the Gregorian Calendar in 1582 involved skipping 10 days in the calendar, so that the equivalent days from the climatic point of view became May 22–25.