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In like a Lion...Out like a Lamb

Posted by Haley on

It’s an expression that many of us have heard frequently this time of year. “March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb.” Yet, have you ever questioned what this means or where the proverb came from?

The aphorism is often a representation of the weather during the month of March. The concept is that the approaching onset of March will exert brisk and turbulent weather while the climate at the end will be peaceful and serene. The relentless lion represents the opening of March while the docile lamb symbolizes the closing. Of course, this doesn’t always hold true. One year may begin warm and mild, accompanied with a light jacket, and exit with the warm wool mittens you thought you wouldn’t be needing any longer. While the next year could bring nothing but snow. It all depends on mother nature’s mood each coming year!

One of the first citations came from English playwright John Fletcher (1579-1625). In 1624 he wrote, “I would choose March, for I would come in like a lion… but you’d go out like a lamb when you went to hanging.” John Fletcher penned this in his play ‘A Wife for a Month’, a tragicomedy. There are also scientific and religious theories to the old proverb. Some claim that the saying applies to the relative positons of constellations. In the beginning of March, Leo the Lion rises out of the eastern horizon. In Greek mythology, it’s said the Hercules killed Leo for tormenting a small village called Nemean. He swung the beast into the sky, so the villagers would no longer have to worry. While entering April Aries the Ram or Lamb becomes the new rising sign. Others have pointed out that Jesus arrives as the sacrificial lamb but will return as Judah the lion. Which weather-wise, means a false spring. 

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