8 October 2020 – St Keyne’s Day

And so once again I return to the theme of something delicious predicting the winter weather. On Tuesday, I tried and failed to elicit a forecast from a persimmon, today it’s the turn of an onion. 

There’s an old saying that goes a little something like this: 

Onion skin, very thin,
Mild winter coming in,
Onion skin thick and tough,
Coming winter cold and rough.

So I thought I’d give it a go, despite my last not so successful brush with onion folklore. To make sure my results weren’t a fluke, I hoiked out three onions from my stash to test: a large red, a large brown, and a small brown. First up was the large brown:

As I looked at my large brown onion, I realised I didn’t really know what a thin onion skin felt like as opposed to a thick one. And are we talking outer layer, or the layer before you get to the good stuff? So I decided on using ‘tough’ a my qualifier as to whether the skin was thick. 

The large brown felt very robust, it kept its shape and was almost plasticky in finish. Definitely thick.

The small brown came next. This was much more flimsy and much more flexible and even a tiny bit see-through. But still held its shape. Probably thin.

And finally the large red. This skin felt more like the consistency of paper. It was a lot more malleable than Large Brown, but not as delicate Small Brown, and its shape bounced back after crumpling. On the fence.

So there you have it; one onion says cold and rough, another says probably get a hat, and the last one just shrugs. Mind you, there’s also the two fogs of August to think about. So in true copping out fashion, I’m predicting a cold in patches winter. Besides, I can’t actually remember where these onions came from (other than the shop), so this might be the winter weather prediction for somewhere else entirely.

And finally to last night. Despite all my preparations, I nearly forgot to make my cross before going to bed. But when I did remember, I raked over my ashes with a miniature screwdriver, dipped my finger in, and asked St Osyth for her protection. I mean, after the year we’ve been having, it really doesn’t hurt to ask for a bit of extra back up, does it?


Baker, M. (2019) Discovering The Folklore of Plants, Oxford, Shire Publications



Subscribe to The Everyday Lore Project

Pop in your email address and you'll get fresh new folklore posts straight to your inbox. How cool is that?




  1. Glorious Barbara
    8 October 2020

    Onionployment at a record high…

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.