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Spanish Expression of the Day: Veranillo de San Miguel

The Local Spain
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Spanish Expression of the Day: Veranillo de San Miguel
'Little Summer of Saint Michael' is what Spaniards say to refer to an Indian Summer. Photo: TAUSEEF MUSTAFA / AFP

What do Spaniards mean when they say 'little summer of Saint Michael'?

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Veranillo de San Miguel is used in Spanish to refer to a period of time in autumn when there are higher than average temperatures and dry weather.

It tends to last around a week and is a meteorological anomaly as it’s preceded and followed by colder and wetter weather more common for the season.

It’s what English speakers usually call an Indian summer. 

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There’s currently a veranillo de San Miguel taking place in Spain, as much of the country is experiencing temperatures hovering around 30C after a couple of weeks of plenty of rain and cooler weather overall. In fact, some people are calling it veroño, a play on words by combining verano (summer) and otoño (autumn) as it's hot enough to be July. 

But back to matter at hand - Where did the expression veranillo de San Miguel come from?

The reason why it’s called the ‘little summer of Saint Michael’ is that it tends to happen at the end of September, right at the beginning of autumn, coinciding with the Day of San Miguel in Spain: September 29th. 

This spell of warm weather is also called veranillo del membrillo, which translates as ‘quince summer’, around the time in which this fruit is ready to be harvested.

Example:

No guardes la ropa de verano que se acerca el típico veranillo de San Miguel.

Don’t put your summer clothes away as the typical Indian Summer is approaching.

Examples of 'veranillo de San Miguel' in the Spanish press.

 

There’s another Spanish expression to do with unseasonable weather - Hasta el 40 de Mayo no te quites el sayo - which literally means ‘Don’t take your tunic/coat off until May 40th’, in reference to the fact that sometimes in June the weather is still a bit rainy. 

And there are plenty of other expressions used in Spanish to refer to all types of weather, from ‘sweating like a chicken’ to ‘raining octopuses’ and more.

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