A sunshower is an unusual meteorological phenomenon in which rain falls while the sun is shining . These conditions often lead to the appearance of a rainbow, if the sun is at a low enough angle . The term "sunshower" is used in the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland and parts of Britain, but is rarely found in dictionaries . Additionally, the phenomenon has a wide range of sometimes remarkably similar folkloric names in cultures around the world . A common theme is that of trickster animals, or the devil, getting married, although many variations of parts of this theme exist. .
Serein is the word for a rain falling from a cloudless sky.
The nature of cumuluform
clouds is such that the sun can often be seen while they are producing rain. If a sunshower occurs in the early morning or late afternoon (specifically, any time the sun is at less than a 42° angle), a rainbow can occur.
Anecdotally, it's said that a sunshower is a sign that rain will occur again soon, specifically that it will rain the next day.
- In South African English, it is referred to as a "monkey’s wedding," a loan translation of the Zulu umshado wezinkawu, a wedding for monkeys . In Afrikaans, it is referred to as jakkalstrou , jackals wedding, or also As jakkals trou met wolf se vrou, meaning "when the jackal marries the Wolf's wife."
- In Hindi and Bengali, it is also called “the jackal’s wedding.”
- In Arabic, the term is “the rats are getting married” .
- Bulgarians speak of bears marrying .
- In Korea, a male tiger gets married.
- In various African languages, leopards are getting married.
- One animal, the fox, crops up all over the world, from Kerala to Japan (Japan also refers to it as 'Kitsune (the fox) takes a bride,') to Armenia; there’s even an English dialect term, “the foxes’ wedding,” known from the south west of England. In Calabria, Italy, it is said that “when it rains with sun, the foxes are getting married.”
, the saying is that “when the sun is shining and the rain is raining, the witch is making butter
." For Filipinos
, "elves are getting married", or "tikbalang
" (half-horse, half-men) and a "kapre
" are getting married, while in Spain
it is witches
, and in Greece
it is the poor.
In Lithuanian, the phenomenon is described as "orphans' tears," where the sun is the grandmother drying those tears. In Russian, it's грибной дождь, "mushroom rain," as such conditions are considered favorable to growing mushrooms. In Russian it is also often referred to as слепой дождик, which literally translates as "blind little rain".
In the United States, particularly the South, a sunshower is said to show that "the devil is beating his wife." In German, the variation is "Wenn's regnet und die Sonne scheint, so schlägt der Teufel seine Großmutter: er lacht und sie weint," or "When it's raining and the sun shines, the devil is beating his grandmother: he laughs and she cries." Similar phrases occur in Hungary and Holland. A regional variant from Tennessee is "the devil is kissing his wife."
- Blust, Robert (1998) The Fox's Wedding. Manuscript, University of Hawaii.
- Evgen'jeva, A. P., ed. (1985-) Slovar' russkogo jazyka v 4 tomakh, 3rd edition. Moscow.
- Kuusi, Matti (1957) Regen bei Sonnenschein: Zur Weltgeschichte einer Redensart. "Folklore Fellows Communications" n. 171, Helsinki 1957 (it appeared translated into Italian in the journal "Quaderni di Semantica" 13 (1992) and 14 (1993)).
- Hoffmann-Krayer, E. (1930-31) Handwrterbuch des deutschen Aberglaubens. Berlin and Leipzig: Walter de Gruyter.