255: March Lore

From Vance Randolph’s Ozark Magic and Folklore:

“In any case, a dry March is supposed to mean plenty of rain and good growin’ weather later on. There is an old sayin’ that ‘a bushel of dust in March is worth a bushel of silver in September.’”

“Some believe that soap cooked in March thickens quicker and is somehow superior to that produced at any other season.”

“If there happens to be a snowfall in May, the housewife is supposed to melt some of the snow in the fireplace a sure way to kill all the fleas and bedbugs in the house. The same happy result is said to be obtained by burning a dirty dishrag the first time you hear it thunder in March.”

“Many Ozark people make a tea from the bark of the spicebush (Benzoin aestivale) in March and April. They drink this just as they do sassafras tea and regard it as a tonic and blood thinner.”

“Every old woman has heard that owls’ eggs are a sure cure for alcoholism. Owls lay their eggs in March, and it is said that many Ozark children are kept out of school and sent by their mothers to search for owls’ nests in the tall timber. Many a hillman has been fed owls’ eggs, scrambled or disguised in one way and another, without knowing what he was eating.”

“It is proverbial that the winds of March are bad for the complexion: March winds and May sun make clothes white and maids dun.”

“A woman’s hair should never be cut in March this makes it dull and lifeless and sometimes causes headaches which persist until midnight on March 31.”

“Mr. Booth Campbell, of Cane Hill, Arkansas, told me that the old-timers in his neighborhood always claimed March 21 as the unluckiest birthday in the month, and one of the most unfavorable days in the whole year.”

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