Appalachia Folklore

Spring Folklore From Appalachia

girl holding little dog in the spring

Chatter and Ruby on a Spring day several years back

A common piece of folklore tells us April showers brings May flowers.

As much rain as we’ve had this April I think May will abound with blooms.

A quick look in the Frank C. Brown Collection of North Carolina Folklore showed these other bits of Spring folklore.

  • wash hair in March rain water for pretty locks
  • never mix April 30 milk with May 1 milk or butter will be slow in coming
  • if you get your head wet in the first rain of May you will not have a headache all year long (with my headaches I should at least try this one!)
  • if you wash your face in dew on the first of May you will be pretty
  • March snow is good for sore eyes
  • as sudden as an April shower
  • snow in April is manure
  • spring peas placed in a child’s shoe stops their growth
  • when April blows its horn tis good for hay and corn

As I was looking through the book I noticed these sayings:

  • poorer than a crow in Spring
  • as thin as a whippoorwill in Spring

If you have any other spring folklore I hope you’ll leave a comment and share it!


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  • Reply
    April 23, 2020 at 10:29 pm

    Mamma told us if we ate burnt toast our hair would be curly …( didn’t work) 🙂

  • Reply
    Gaye Blaine
    April 23, 2020 at 8:00 pm

    As thin as a rail!
    Had to shake the sheets to find him!
    He had to go twice to make a shadow
    Pore ( poor) as Job’s turkey! PS. Never knew who Job was nor if he had a turkey.
    So pore they don’t have a pot to pee in nor a window to toss it out of!

  • Reply
    April 23, 2020 at 3:48 pm

    Dear Tipper,
    Wanted to share one Good thing about getting older: those headaches of mid life will likely fade away as you get older . My sister & cousins & I suffered w/bad headaches in our late 30’s, 40’s & into our 50’s But…thankfully, they faded to almost none in 60’s & on.

    Whether the cause is hormonal, stress level or what remains in question…maybe some of each?

  • Reply
    Ken Roper
    April 23, 2020 at 3:12 pm

    Looks like Ruby Sue got some Vanilla Ice Cream on the side of her mouth. She looks just like Little Bit only he was a boy dog. I Miss Him. Every time I lose a dog, I swear I’ll never have another one. But in 3 or 4 weeks I forget about that and get another dog. I’ve had Dogs my whole life, but Copper was the first I remember. My sister-in-law, Bud’s wife, brought him to us when they were married. Bud’s gone now, but Betty Jo is still alive, she’s 85 and calls me her Little Brother. …Ken

  • Reply
    April 23, 2020 at 10:03 am

    Wow if I knew the heartache one worked I’d catch some rain water for my Wife she’s had headaches most of our married life

  • Reply
    aw griff
    April 23, 2020 at 9:45 am

    I only knew two on your list and SHELIA LOWERY beat me to the draw on her post. I always heard poor as a whippoowill meaning they were a rack of bones.

  • Reply
    April 23, 2020 at 9:01 am

    Never go barefoot till the first of May no matter how warm it is. We haven’t had any April snow here in KY, but it was below freezing a few mornings.

    • Reply
      aw griff
      April 23, 2020 at 9:56 am

      Shirl, I grew up with that one too. Sometimes I need someone to jog my memory.
      I live in and we had a frost yesterday morning.

    • Reply
      April 23, 2020 at 10:26 pm

      We had the same barefoot rule too, boy was I ever glad when that day came 🙂

  • Reply
    Margie Goldstein
    April 23, 2020 at 8:33 am

    Poorer than church mouse. Uglier than a mud fence. Pretty is as pretty does. Sweep under your feet and you’ll never marry. Throw salt over your shoulder should you spill any. A stitch in time saves nine. Go to bed laughing and you’ll wake up crying. “ Once there was a little girl who wouldn’t say her prayers. And when she went to bed at night way up the stairs. Her mammy heared her holler and her daddy heared her ball. When they turnt the covers down she wasn’t there at all. All they ever found was her coat and roundabout. The goblins will git you if you don’t watch out!” FYI for headaches try brown paper soaked in vinegar ( cider.)I hope your headaches leave and never return!

  • Reply
    April 23, 2020 at 7:53 am

    Not much to add to that impressive list. It seemed my small grade school always stressed so many important things that became less important in later education. I remember much discussion about seasons and first learned “April showers bring May flowers” right there in 2nd grade. The March winds were discussed also with those wise teachers keeping us in tune with the relevance of nature. We stood so reverently for the Pledge of Allegiance, and they decided to add :under God.” We sat in a small auditorium and sang “Oh Those West Virginia Hills. “Back then it seemed they knew and taught what was important, and I do believe even in 2nd grade I would have recognized Common Corp as nonsense. No arrangements for fancy school yard equipment since t the woods behind became our playground as we gathered beech nuts. Boys shot marbles come Spring and the girls were busy with hopscotch or tag. Spring was so welcoming after long Winter. Teacjers were so very wise!

  • Reply
    Sheila Lowery
    April 23, 2020 at 6:24 am

    Good morning! Here’s a folklore I’ve always heard. If it rains on Easter Sunday it will rain for the next 7 Sundays.
    Hope everyone is staying safe and healthy!

  • Reply
    Joe chumlea
    April 23, 2020 at 6:18 am

    Poor as a snake.

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