Les giboulées de mars

April showers (from: http://www.bbc.co.uk/england/looknorthnecumbria/weather/calendar_competition/april/april_gallery_75.shtml)

The other day I discovered that the French equivalent of April Showers is Les giboulées de mars, or ‘March showers’. April showers sound soft and light to me, whereas Les giboulées de mars sound unpleasantly wet.

April showers are showers, often heavy, that fall in Spring, especially in March and April, in the northern hemisphere, particularly in the UK and Ireland, and also in France. They occur when the jet stream starts to move north in early spring letting strong winds and rain, and sometimes sleet and snow, sweep in from the Atlantic [source].

The word giboulée /ʒi.bu.le/ means sudden, short shower often mixed with snow or sleet, or in French ‘Pluie soudaine et brève souvent mêlée de neige ou de grésil.‘ [source]. It’s etymology is uncertain and is possibly related to the Langue d’Oc words giboulado (shower), gibourna (to sizzle) and/or gibournado (shower) [source]. Another French word for shower is averse.

One thought on “Les giboulées de mars

  1. I can confirm that giboulées or giboulées de mars apply only to spring showers. They are not unpleasant because they don’t last long and are generally followed by a generous sun … until another giboulée comes. Unfortunately the climate is too dry these years and giboulées too scarce creating serious trouble in the SW and hydropower generation.
    En occitan, una “giboulée de mars” es una “marcescada”, where “març” is the month of Mars.

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