marry in May, rue for aye

Some earlier related proverbs are also illustrated below. There are a number of old beliefs about the malign influence of this month, e.g. May chickens come cheeping. Cf. OVID Fasti v. 489 si te proverbia tangunt, mense malum Maio nubere volgus ait, if proverbs influence you, the common people say it is bad luck to marry in May.

1675 Poor Robin’s Almanack May, The Proverb saies..Of all the Moneths ’tis worst to Wed in May.

1821 J. GALT Annals of Parish vi. We were married on the 29th day of April..on account of the dread that we had of being married in May, for it is said, ‘Of the marriages in May, The bairns die of a decay.’

1879 W. HENDERSON Notes on Folk-Lore of Northern Counties (rev. ed.) i. The ancient proverb still lives on the lips of the people of Scotland and the Borders—Marry in May, Rue for aye.

1913 E. M. WRIGHT Rustic Speech xiii. May..is an evil month for marriage... Marry in May, you’ll rue it for aye, is a Devonshire saying.

1981 Observer Magazine 28 June 27 On weddings and engagements we are told that May is an unlucky month for getting married, ‘Marry in May, rue for aye.’


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