Come rain or shine… or both.

“Oh, look, the Devil is beating his wife,” I said casually as I looked out the window at the sudden shower of rain amidst the sunshine.

My husband almost did a spit-take.

“WHAT?” he asked.

A sunshower is a meteorological phenomenon in which rain falls while the sun is shining. (Stock photo)

A sunshower is a meteorological phenomenon in which rain falls while the sun is shining. (Stock photo)

“It’s raining and sunny at the same time. What, you’ve never heard that expression?”

It wasn’t the first time my Michigan-born husband and I have had a miscommunication solely because of the clash between his Northern and my Southern accents or colloquialisms.

To put his mind at ease that his wife was not completely crazy, I researched the phrase’s origin. I could not find the exact derivation, other than it is mostly used in the Southern U.S., but the meaning of rain during sunshine was the same in every source I consulted.

Allegedly, the Devil beats his wife during occasional sunny weather because he is angry that God created a beautiful day.

Really, the Devil shouldn’t go on taking out his aggression on other people. It’s just not healthy.

During my research, I found a document from Bert Vaux, a former assistant professor of linguistics at Harvard University. Bert solicited his academic peers for expressions in other languages describing the meteorological phenomenon. Here are some of the highlights:

Amharic: “The hyena is giving birth.”
Bulgarian: “The bears are getting married.”
Cape Verdean:A sunshower on one’s wedding day means that the groom has eaten unheated food. (I hope it wasn’t poultry)
Polish: “When the sun is shining and the rain is raining, the witch is making butter.”
Zulu: A sunshower is called a “monkey’s wedding.”

I offered to adopt the one about the witch making butter, but my husband just shook his head.  The way I see it, if I’m going to sound like a lunatic, I’d at least like to sound like a lunatic that knows where she’s from.


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