Last snow before spring

scarpelius

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I am trying to piece together the general setup for an ambitious project. It is about weather control with planet wide influence. In my language we have a very poetic reference to the last snow before spring "zapada mieilor" which roughly translate to lamb's snow. Does something similar exists in English folklore?
 

CTRandall

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I can't think of any terms for snowfall at a specific time of year. There are plenty of terms to describe different kinds of snow, ice and related weather--powder, sleet, freezing rain, snirt (snow mixed with dirt--common in farmland where the wind srives snow across open fields), slush, blizzard, flurry, whiteout, etc. but none of them relate to the season.
 

Juliana

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Corn snow is a skiing term that refers to the sort of snow conditions you typically get in spring. Not sure that's of much use, though...
 

Phyrebrat

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When in doubt, ask Kate Bush:

1 drifting
2 twisting
3 whiteout
4 blackbird braille
5 Wenceslasaire
6 avalanche

7 swans-a-melting
8 deamondi-pavlova
9 eiderfalls
10 Santanyeroofdikov
11 stellatundra
12 hunter's dream
13 faloop'njoompoola
14 zebranivem
15 spangladasha
16 albadune
17 hironocrashka
18 hooded-web.
19 phlegm de neige
20 mountainsob
21 anklebreaker
22 eraser dust
23 shnamistoflopp'n
24 terrablizza
25 whirlissimo
26 vanilla swarm
27 icyskidski
28 robber's veil
29 creaky-creaky
30 psychohail
31 whippoccino
32 shimmerglisten
33 Zhivagodamarbletash
34 sorbetdeluge
35 sleetspoot'n
36 melt-o-blast
37 slipperella
38 boomerangablanca
39 groundberry down
40 meringuerpeaks
41 crème-bouffant
42 peDtaH 'ej chIS qo'
43 deep'nhidden
44 bad for trains
45 shovelcrusted
46 anechoic
47 blown from polar fur
48 vanishing world
49 mistraldespair
50 snow.
 
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scarpelius

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Thanks @Phyrebrat quite a list :).
I feel like I need to explain a bit the story behind Lamb's snow.
In the spring sheep give birth. When that happen the winter usually throws the last snow in the year, late March, even firsts days of April. Somewhere in the beginning of the April is the Easter (shifting date as is calculated by an old calendar, before the adoption of the current Gregorian calendar). Lamb meat is the main course of the Easter for many, so in the spring you can easily find it in stores (actually that's the only time you can buy sheep meat in general stores).
Now, since the Easter is the religious celebration of Christ resurrection, lambs are sacrificed for that. And the Lamb's snow gets a very powerful and ritualistic meaning: blood of the innocents staining pristine white snow for a two millennia old myth.
 

Phyrebrat

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Just to clarify, that’s not my list. Kate Bush’s last studio album is called ‘Fifty Words for Snow’. It’s a concept album where every song relates to snow.

That’s the title track and it’s just Stephen Fry reading that list with Kate singing a chorus (which I’ve deleted here).

Back OT. @scarpelius I’ll have a think about your traditional custom and see if I can come up with anything helpful.

pH
 

Montero

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No, definitely not. There is no tradition of which I am aware of killing lambs at Easter, for Easter. If I read "lamb's snow" in English I'd guess it was referring to a late snow causing problems for the farmer at lambing time.
These days in the UK, mainstream Easter is a time of pictures of Spring - cute lambs gambolling in the field, fluffy yellow Easter chicks, daffodils - and the main "food focus" is chocolate Easter eggs, followed by Easter biscuits and with Simnel cake rather fallen out of popularity.
Now in terms of eating sheep's meat, almost everything in the shops is called lamb. You are generally talking something at least three months old and usually under a year. Spring lamb would be younger and more expensive - but you are talking lambs born deliberately early, maybe even in a barn in January, so they have done some growing. (There is a movement to get people back to eating mutton, so that end of life ewes generate some money for the farmer and don't just go as waste carcasses.)
Something I suspect was a historical factor is that the UK was a very big grower of wool - Medieval period in particular, fortunes were made on wool and we were a big exporter to the continent. So lambs are wanted to grow into big sheep for their fleeces. Mutton was a traditional British dish for a very long time to the point that we were known for eating mutton as a national characteristic. (Mutton being the end of life sheep that have produced years of wool.)


Further thought - is the lamb sacrifice a Catholic tradition?
Thanks to the reformation of Henry VIII, England and Wales became Protestant in the 16th century, and there was quite a puritan movement of getting away from all idolatry and "popish" behaviour. Brightly painted church interiors were whitewashed over, statues of saints smashed - if there was an Easter lamb sacrifice tradition and I'm not convinced there was, but don't know either way - the Reformation would have put an end to it.
 
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Montero

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Let me clarify - no tradition of which I am aware in the UK related to the Christian church Easter - which is my mental default Easter. The Easter that was taught at school came with pictures of live lambs being cute. So in terms of the "lamb snow" phrase being easily recognisable to a UK English speaker I can't think of any equivalent.
I am vaguely aware of there being a tradition of that related to Passover and possibly also something in the Muslim tradition - but that is from general awareness/internet and have no idea whether it is currently practised in the UK.
Religious education when I was at a C of E primary school was mainly about dramatic stories - like Moses crossing the Red Sea, Josephs's multi-coloured coat etc. Easter was making Easter pictures or bonnets from coloured paper, papier mache Easter eggs, blown eggs being used as a basis for making a little person. Actually an all round flowers and egg theme now I look back at what stuck.
Secondary school did have a tiny bit on World Religion - but all I remember is pictures of Buddhist temples. Then we settled down into a very intensive study of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John with thrilling exercises of re-writing in a modern setting - like making the Good Samaritan a skinhead.
 
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Montero

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Further thought - it doesn't always snow at Easter in the UK. Even back when it snowed more regularly, Easter was more often early flowers popping up. Occasionally, with an early Easter and a late spell of snow you'd have countrywide snow, but it was more of a novelty - at least in the south of the country.
In terms of tradition, snow is associated with Christmas only.
 

Luiglin

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Some wintry terms, not all necessarily related to snow.

Hoarfrost
Frost Flower
Glaze Ice
Hard Rime
Thundersnow
Firn
Gloriole
Parhelia
Paraselene
 

Vince W

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There is a saying about March weather. In like a lion out like a lamb. Or in like a lamb out like a lion. This means if there is foul weather and heavy snow at the beginning of the month the weather will be fair at the end. The second part is the reverse. If the weather is fair at the beginning of March, expect foul weather at the end.

One of the earliest references is by Thomas Fuller in 1732.
 

Montero

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Yes, heard in like a lion and out like a lamb too.
There's also March winds and April showers bring forth May flowers.

Other than that, to the OP, I think if I read "lamb's snow" I would as I said earlier interpret it as a late snow, but nothing more than that. In the south of the UK if we do have snow, it generally only lasts a week or so before melting, might have a second snow or not. In the south, it doesn't snow every winter, so the last snow of winter is not an annual thing with a special name. :)
 

Luiglin

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Yes, heard in like a lion and out like a lamb too.
There's also March winds and April showers bring forth May flowers.

Other than that, to the OP, I think if I read "lamb's snow" I would as I said earlier interpret it as a late snow, but nothing more than that. In the south of the UK if we do have snow, it generally only lasts a week or so before melting, might have a second snow or not. In the south, it doesn't snow every winter, so the last snow of winter is not an annual thing with a special name. :)

In the Midlands I like to call it "Bleeping snow", if you catch my drift.
 

Montero

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Aargh.
Yes, the joys of snow have long since worn off for me. Maybe if I still went out sledging like when I was ten...... Or not. Wandering off totally sideways there was a bad accident the other year when some folks improvised a sledge from an old car door and went way too fast.....
 

Montero

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I was meaning to come back and say "bleeping" is derived from bleeping out swear words on TV. Thought that might be a bit colloquial. :D
 

Luiglin

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Yes, apologies for any misunderstanding there but not for the bad pun ;p
 

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