Appalachia Appalachia Through My Eyes Christmas

Appalachia Through My Eyes – Ruling Days

My life in appalachia - Ruling Days

(view to the west from my front porch- looking and thinking of all you TN folks-on Christmas evening)

My Dictionary of Smoky Mountain English tells me this about Ruling Days:

The twelve days beginning on Christmas day, each one of which is said to govern the weather for one month of the following year. 1905 Miles Spirit of Mts 107 But he and Arth do not disagree about certain weather signs their mother had taught them when they were “shirt-tail boys,” signs about Groundhog Day, for example, and the Ruling Days, the twelve days from the twenty-fifth of December to Old Christmas, each of which rules the weather of a month of the coming year.

My Christmas day started out at a chilly 35 degrees with a few-and I mean very few snow flurries and warmed to the upper 40s by late afternoon. So according to the ruling days-I guess that means the month of January will be chilly too?

Ever heard of Ruling Days?


Appalachia Through My Eyes – A series of photographs from my life in Southern Appalachia.


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  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    December 30, 2011 at 9:50 am

    Tipper, I’ve never heard of the ruling days but find it very interesting.
    Is this the same 12 day as the song The Twelve Days of Christmas?

  • Reply
    December 29, 2011 at 12:05 pm

    Well this is interesting… hoping it only works in your area, otherwise I’ll need more waterways dug before this year is out.

  • Reply
    December 26, 2011 at 8:58 pm

    Tipper, I have heard of the ruling days my whole life, but was never quite certain when they were, Thanks

  • Reply
    Pamela Moore
    December 26, 2011 at 7:14 pm

    It got up to 88 degrees. I guess we are in for a very hot January. I actually turned on my AC.

  • Reply
    December 26, 2011 at 5:36 pm

    Tipper, you always bring us something ‘old’ and interesting! I’ve never heard of Ruling Days either, but you can bet I will be keeping track of them this year – should be interesting! Thanks for sharing!

  • Reply
    December 26, 2011 at 3:06 pm

    My weather started in the 40’s and was in the 50’s by afternoon on Christmas day. I’m curious to see if it follows the rule!

  • Reply
    susie swanson
    December 26, 2011 at 2:49 pm

    I remember The Ruling Days Tipper.. My mom and dad and the older generation always went by them.. Hope it holds true this year..Susie

  • Reply
    December 26, 2011 at 1:41 pm

    I hope that is true because the weather has been in the 40s and is forecast to be the same with a bit of rain this week. We went for a post Christmas dinner walk yesterday and light jackets were needed. No need for mittens, poofy coats or mufflers so far.

  • Reply
    barbara gantt
    December 26, 2011 at 1:31 pm

    My Dads side of the family talked about Ruling Days. I remember the older women discussing it. I never really knew what it meant. Now I do, thanks Tipper, Barbara

  • Reply
    December 26, 2011 at 11:59 am

    I had never heard of ruling days, either, but will keep track and see if it holds true. Thanks so much for sharing this….and may you have a blessed new year.

  • Reply
    Debby Brown
    December 26, 2011 at 10:36 am

    We always believed in this too! But I never knew it had a name, I’m real happy to have learned it has one!

  • Reply
    December 26, 2011 at 10:02 am

    HAven’t heard of it called the ruling days but do know about the tradition of predicting the weather for the coming year. Sure hope we get some rain for next summer since we were in a drought the past one.

  • Reply
    December 26, 2011 at 9:40 am

    Interesting. I sort of hope it rings true. I’m liking the mild weather we had.

  • Reply
    B. Ruth
    December 26, 2011 at 9:31 am

    Yesterday was overcast for a while, almost looked like snow clouds..chilly and then suddenly sunshine the rest of the day…
    My varigated Periwinkle is blooming, Red Japonica showing a bloom on occasion, and the Red Honeysuckle blooms keep hanging on as they sometimes do, in case a late migratory Hummingbird needs an energy pit stop…LOL…
    The January Jasmine has been blooming since the middle of December…love it, smells so good..You would never think those tiny white blossoms could produce such a fragrance…an ugly shrub but the tiny flowers and fragrance makes up for it…
    I have heard of the ruling days and predicting the weather from Christmas day until old Christmas…But I think it was Sam Venables column in the Knoxville News Sentinel years back, that I read that the 12 days were called ruling days…
    Yep, this weather is about to change…I think we will see snow by New Years…
    PS…Mrs Claus brought Santa a Wildlife and Game scouting camera. Hung it on a tree in the woods behind the house…Hope to catch those mean coyote critters den area…
    Thanks Tipper,

  • Reply
    Wanda in NoAla
    December 26, 2011 at 8:38 am

    My Grandma used to keep a journal of the weather on the twelve days of Christmas; never heard it called ‘Ruling Days’. Very interesting. Gonna do a little research on that later today. Thanks for sharing!

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    December 26, 2011 at 8:32 am

    Me too, I’m going to keep track… Interesting to see how it works for all. I’m in Florida. 66 this am with 30% chance of rain. Hello January.

  • Reply
    Tim Mclemore
    December 26, 2011 at 8:28 am

    Very interesting, I have not heard of this but I will be keeping up with it, Thanks for the bit of information..

  • Reply
    dolores barton
    December 26, 2011 at 8:16 am

    I, too, have never heard of ruling days. I think I will pay better attention; something new can be learned with each day.

  • Reply
    December 26, 2011 at 7:57 am

    I have heard of the tradition of the the 12 days indicating what the weather will be for each upcoming month, but I have not heard it called “Ruling Days”. I always mean to track the weather and see if it works out that way in the upcoming year, but I always forget!

  • Reply
    Karen Larsen
    December 26, 2011 at 7:49 am

    I have never heard of Ruling Days, but this is a great concept and I will take notes in my datebook for the next 12 days. Thanks for this– it’s very cool!

  • Reply
    Uncle Al
    December 26, 2011 at 7:47 am

    I’ve never heard of Ruling Days. It was cold on this side of the Mountains yesterday as well Tipper and is even colder this morning.. 22 degrees. It is an interesting theory, one to watch.

  • Reply
    Mike McLain
    December 26, 2011 at 7:39 am

    Never heard of the ruling days, although I sure have heard of the Twelve Days of Christmas. Will have to watch the next twelve days and see how they compare with the weather each month in 2012.

  • Reply
    December 26, 2011 at 7:32 am

    Mary-I’m going to keep one too! This morning-its 29 degrees : )
    Blind Pig The Acorn
    Celebrating and Preserving the
    Culture of Appalachia

  • Reply
    December 26, 2011 at 7:28 am

    Tipper I never heard of Ruling Days so I shall stay alert in these next 12 days and see how much truth it holds or if it gets classified as Folk-lore.

  • Reply
    Mary Shipman
    December 26, 2011 at 7:27 am

    Interesting and new to me.
    Christmas Day here in Missouri, on Sunrise Ridge was filled with sunshine, and reached 47 degrees. For today, temps are slowly dropping with rain and snow coming in later. I am going to try to keep a weather diary and see how accurate this is.

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