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12 months of the year using only Portuguese sayings

Updated: Sep 23, 2021

Preparing this session for today left me thinking of sayings.

In fact, we use many (there are thousands!) of these expressions recurrently and in an automated way, in such a way that many of us do not even know the true meaning or origin although we use it, without blinking, every day.

They reflect popular knowledge and refer to an agricultural Portugal, dependent on harvests and on the whims of the weather that no longer exists.

However, many of these expressions continue to be part of the Portuguese vocabulary, so that we can speak of the 12 months of the year using only Portuguese sayings

In January a whole hour and, and, tho look closely, an hour and a half will find (em Janeiro uma hora por inteiro e, quem bem olhar, hora e meia há-de achar) – the days begin to grow after the winter solstice and, little by little, in January we already have one and a half more daytime than in December. For the Portuguese, who love the sun and get depressed during the winter, this means is good news.

When it does not rain in February, neither meadows nor rye (quando não chove em Fevereiro, nem prados nem centeio) – refers to the productive cycles in agriculture. The lack of rain during the month of February makes impossible an abundant production of rye.

March, unbridled March, winter mornings and summer afternoons (Março, marçagão, manhãs de Inverno e tardes de Verão) – refers to the usual meteorological characteristics in late winter and early spring: very chilly mornings and sunny afternoons.

In April thousand waters (em Abril águas mil) – also in this case refers to the fact that, often, April is a month when it rains a lot.

Cabbage May is not a vineyard May (Maio couveiro não é vinhateiro) – a month of May favorable to the cultivation of cabbage (more humid) is not good for the vineyards and will harm the production of wine.

June´s sun, early wakes up (sol de Junho, madruga muito)- in this case, around the summer solstice the days reach their longest duration, so it is said that the day wakes up very early.

July water on the river does not make a sound (água de Julho, no rio não faz barulho) – pun on the fact that July is usually a very dry month, with very little rain.

First of August, first of Winter (primeiro de Agosto, primeiro de Inverno) – very common expression that, although i haven’t found its origin, is often accurate and refers to raining or being cold on the first of August, spoiling the plans of many Portuguese that elect this day to begin summer holidays.

September, dries the fountains or takes the bridges (Setembro, ou seca as fontes ou leva as pontes) – reflects the idea that this month usually have extreme conditions, either very hot and dry or heavy rains.