April Frost and Three Saints known as Lune Rousse and Saints de Glace in France

April Frost – Lune Rousse

In France April Frost is known as Lune Rousse (Ginger Moon). It corresponds to the New Moon that starts after Easter, generally between April 5 and May 5, and lasts of course for the entire cycle of the moon. In 2012 April Frost will last from April 21 to May 20!

Night frost and cold winds are normally paired with this phase which is bad news for gardeners as new shoots get frost –damaged if not protected at night.

French calendar , 11-12-13 May 2011, the Three Saints days are marked with a small SG*, Note that Ste Rolande has been replaced by Fete de jeanne D'Arc

French calendar: 11-12-13 May 2012 with the Saints de Glace marked with a small SG*

The name of Lune Rousse – Ginger Moon doesn’t reflect the colour of the moon but the fact that all young shoots turn into a rusty colour under the effect of frost!

Any gardener will tell you that days without clouds and with a north-east gentle breeze are the worst as the temperatures can severely drop overnight!

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; each day of the calendar corresponds to a patron saint that is still widely celebrated by those bearing the saint’s name. In fact it is more an occasion of offering a bouquet of flowers and a greeting card as the religious meaning is fading.

French calendar , 11-12-13 May 2011, the Three Saints days are marked at the end of May

French calendar , 11-12-13 May 2011, the Three Saints days Ste Estelle, St Achille and Ste Rolande are marked at the end of May

The Three Saints – Saints de Glace corresponds to St Mamert, St Pancrace, St Servais on whose name days – May11-12-13- late frost occurs. Eastern France celebrates a fourth patron on May 25, St Urbain, who might also bring the last frost of the year in that region.

French names have evolved, so has the French calendar and you will find that since 1960 Mamert, Pancrace and Servais, which have become such obsolete names, have been replaced by Ste Estelle, St Achille and Ste Rolande.

This year Ste Rolande has been overlooked and replaced with Fête Jeanne d’Arc, a traditional celebration that is always celebrated on a Sunday.

The dates though always remain the same… so mind the frost on May 11-12-13!


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About the author

I am French Parisienne and lived in Asia for nearly 20 years before settling in the UK 3 years ago. I have an interest in everything and every culture and am an avid reader. French linguistics is my "specialty" but I have a passion for history and try to mingle them. Humour is very important to me, I love writing, talking, laughing, exchanging ideas, learning more from others... the world is full of fascinating people! I never leave my home without my camera, there is always something unusual, beautiful or strange to capture. I like to pay attention to details, to the world of the "small", a parallel world if you take the time to look for it...And above all, I love my country of birth, France.
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  • How funny that they did away with saints with old-fashioned names! Mamert and Pancrace are very old-fashioned in Spanish too: Mamerto and Pancracio.

    The latest name trend in Argentina nowadays is to name babies with old-fashioned names. No Mamertos or Pancracios that I know of, though :)

    • It is exactly the same in France! Old fashion names are back! It’s very trendy to give obsolete names to children…i wonder what they’ll think when they are adults and their names sound relaly odd! :)

  • I don’t know if we have an equivalent to Lune Russe here in the NL – we probably do, I’ll have to find out!

    As for the tradition of naming a person according to a saint and then celebrating the saint’s day, it is not customary here in the NL. As far as I know, in Spain it is quite normal and it is just as popular as celebrating one’s birthday.
    Very interesting post!

    • Naming days after a saint is a very Roman Catholic thing! And i am sure that Dutch gardeners are aware of the last frost of the year. They are here in the UK but we have a well established tradition as they have been named of course after the calendar…