In Like a Lion & Out Like a Lamb

This article was last modified on March 2nd, 2023.

Have you ever heard of the saying, “March comes in like a Lion and goes out like a Lamb”?

While the saying most likely started as a reference to astronomy, referencing the position of the constellations Leo (a lion) and Aries (a ram, or lamb) in the night sky,  it quickly evolved into a succinct summation of March’s changing weather as the seasons change from winter to spring in the Northern Hemisphere. This well-known proverb means that March is a month in which you can experience a lion’s fierce roar of frigid cold, the long white teeth of biting winds that can cut through flesh; and the gentle softness, the warmth of fluffy white fleece, and the innocent kiss of sunshine like a docile newborn lamb.

It turns out proverbs like this one hold a lot of weight, and are many times accurate. Here is why.  The weather proverb has stood the test of time.  Like many proverbs for the month of March, it can be traced back to Thomas Fuller’s 1732 compendium, “Gnomologia; Adagies and Proverbs; Wise Sentences and Witty Sayings, Ancient, and Modern, Foreign, and British.”

Fuller compiled numerous proverbs and studied weather lore across many countries through the late 1600s and early 1700s.  Weather folklore contained in books like Fuller’s were often ways to help people prepare for typical weather conditions that lay ahead, oftentimes in reference to planting and harvesting of crops, and can often be accurate, thanks to prevailing winds and weather patterns.

Typically across the US, the month of March is still in the grip of harsh winter realms, providing more of the same brutal cold, wind, and snow, especially in the first days of the month. But as the transitional month moves along, it often leads to glimpses of spring’s beauty and warmth.

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