Traditions - General Info
April Frost - Lune Rousse and Three Saints
April Frost – Lune Rousse
April Frost is known as Ginger/Red Moon - Lune Rousse.
It corresponds to the lunar month that starts with the New Moon following Easter, generally between April 5 and May 5.
Cloudless nights, clear skies and cold winds can easily trigger temperatures to severely drop overnight!
The name of Lune Rousse – Ginger Moon doesn’t reflect the colour of the moon.
It warns that all young shoots turn into a rusty colour if they get frost damaged during the night.
Three Saints – Saints de Glace
In France, April Frost is also associated with the Saints de Glace – Three Saints.
France is a Roman Catholic country.
Therefore, each day of the calendar corresponds to a patron saint that is still widely celebrated by those bearing the saint’s name.
The religious meaning is fading.
However, it is another opportunity to give flowers and a greeting card to beloved friends and relatives on their saint's day.
The Three Saints – Saints de Glace are St-Mamert, St-Pancrace, St-Servais - are celebrated on May 11-12-13, when late frost occurs.
Popular sayings related to the Saints de Glace
Popular sayings helped farmers to remember these days.
'Avant Saint-Servais, point d’été, après Saint-Servais, plus de gelée'
'No summer before St. Servais' Day,no more frost after St. Servais' Day'.
'Attention, le premier des Saints de Glace, souvent tu en gardes la trace'
'Beware of the first of the Three Saints, as it will left its mark'
In some regions, where temperatures are harsher, the last frost of the year can occur later.
This could be on St. Boniface's Day on May 14 in Eastern France, St. Yves' Day on May 19 in Brittany and on St. Urbain's Day on May 25.
People used to say that:
'Le bon Saint-Boniface, entre en brisant la glace - Good St. Boniface has to break the ice to get in
Quand la Saint-Urbain est passée, le vigneron est rassuré - After St. Urbain's Day, the winemaker doesn't need to worry about frost
Craignez le petit Yvonnet, c'est le pire de tous quand il s'y met - Beware of young Yvonnet, he's the worse of them all if he wants
Mamert, Pancrace, Boniface sont les trois Saints de Glaces, mais Saint-Urbain les tient tous dans sa main - Mamert, Pancrace, Boniface are the Three Saints, but St.Urbain has the last word'
French names have evolved, so has the French calendar.
You'll therefore find that, since 1960, Mamert, Pancrace and Servais, were so obsolete names that they were replaced by Ste-Estelle, St-Achille and Ste-Rolande.
The dates though always remain the same, so mind the frost on May 11-12-13!
The dates for the Lune Rousse and the Saints de Glace are registered on the French calendars and are very useful to gardeners.