Updated on March 1, 2017
March – A lion or A lamb?
March Comes in like a Lion, goes out like a Lamb.
This proverb has been around since its mention in a 1732 work titled Gnomologia: Adagies and Proverbs; Wise Sentences and Witty Sayings, Ancient and Modern, Foreign and British.
Such weather proverbs and sayings have many origins. This one probably came from observations and a desire for accurate weather predictions.
Historically Old Man Winter reluctantly allows Spring its turn at the climate. That’s because March is a pivotal meteorological month with an unpredictable seasonal pattern. March can arrive as a lamb then turn lion-like in the end making the proverb an unreliable forecasting guide.
While the adage most likely refers to the weather, other sources trace its origins to the stars.If you look to the western horizon this time of year, you can see the constellations of Leo the Lion and Aries the Ram (or lamb).
Leo the Lion rises from the east in early March, meaning the month is coming in “like a lion.” By the end of the month, Leo is almost overhead, while Aries the Ram (lamb) is setting on the western horizon. Hence, the month is going out like a lamb.
Another theory claims the saying is biblical and the animal references symbolic. Jesus’s first appeared as the sacrificial lamb, but returns as the Lion of Judah. Problem with that theory is the lion appears first, which is theologically inaccurate.
Perhaps the best solution to what the saying – March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb – means is to take it at face value. March may well start with fierce weather, but it’s always a clear signal spring is on its way.
As far as I’m concerned, three degrees and six inches of snow on the ground is definitely lion behavior that validates the saying.
How did your March begin?
Want to know whether you can expect lion or lamb weather in your area? You can find the Farmer’s Almanac long-range weather forecast, here.