sunshowers (and The Donkeys Are Getting Married)

Paul Ivsin paul at IMPLICATURE.COM
Fri Aug 24 16:42:48 UTC 2001

Bert Vaux posted a (amazingly) large summary on linguist list in 1998:

which includes, under "English,"

3. donkey's wedding (the woman who used this form grew up in both
        India and England, so it is not clear which was the source of this

"The devil's beating his wife" is also noted there in Dutch, English &


----- Original Message -----
From: "A. Maberry" <maberry at U.WASHINGTON.EDU>
Sent: Friday, August 24, 2001 11:30 AM
Subject: sunshowers (was The Donkeys Are Getting Married)

> I vaguely recall the "sunshower" discussion too.
> During a sunshower, my grandfather always said that "The devil was beating
> his wife." Is this a common German/Prussian/Russian-American saying?
> allen
> maberry at
> On Fri, 24 Aug 2001, Peter A. McGraw wrote:
> > I'm not sure, either, what the post had to do with ADS, but it reminded
> > of a discussion that occurred on the list several years ago.  The topic
> > "sunshowers," and someone was inquiring about folk beliefs connected
> > them.  (A "sunshower," a term I hadn't heard until that query, is a
> > rainshower that occurs simultaneously with sunshine.)  There are all
> > of events connected with animals that a sunshower is said to indicate.
> > contributed a recollection from my childhood that "That means it's a
> > monkey's birthday."  But as I recall, the majority of the betokened
> > were weddings of various animals (sorry, I've forgotten which animals).

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