It’s started to rain steadily and quite heavily here. It’s also feeling rather chilly for an August day. The rain prompted me to look at folklore and superstitions mentioning rain. As I was sat at the ‘puter it was easier to go and do a Google than to go looking for my books on such topics.
There’s a good list of weather-lore at Down Gardening Services, and a lot more on the world weird web.
I like ‘The daisy shuts its eye before rain’ simply because I like daisies! I always think they look bright stars set in a green firmament. They always cheer one up!
The name daisy comes from the Old English ‘dæges eage‘ which means ‘day’s eye’ because the petals open at dawn and close at dusk (unless it’s about to rain!). In Welsh they are called ‘Llygad y Dydd‘, which also means ‘eye of the day’. It’s scientific name is Bellis perennis.
According to Roman mythology, Vertumnus, the guardian deity of orchards, pursued a young tree nymph named Belides after he saw her dancing with the other nymphs at the edge of the orchard. Belides did not want his attention and so she asked the gods for help to escape Vertumnus. As the powerful King of Argos was grandfather to Belides, the gods agreed to help. They transformed her into a tiny flower called Bellis, and so she escaped a terrible fate.
The Celts had a legend that daisies were the spirits of babies who had died during birth. The daisies grew to help relieve their parents’ grief with their simple beauty and innocence.
Making daisy chains was a childhood activity enjoyed by many of us. I wonder how many of us knew at those tender ages that parents used to put daisy chains around children’s necks to prevent them being stolen by fairies. Apparently, daisy chains should always have their ends joined so that they form a circle that represents the Sun, the Earth and the cycle of life.
Plucking the petals from a daisy, one by one, and reciting ‘s/he loves me, s/he loves me not’ is a common divinatory superstition. Placing the root of a daisy under one’s pillow is said to produce a dream or a vision of one’s future love/partner.
The symbolic and legendary meanings of flowers dates back to Elizabethan times, however it was the Victorians who assigned simple messages to flowers. It was a period in time when social etiquette meant that men and ladies could not express their feelings openly and so the use of the colour and type of flower to express what they could not say or show became popular. The daisy was associated with simplicity and modesty. The message of the daisies in the language of flowers is that of gentleness, innocence and purity in both the giver and receiver.