Please welcome Tim Hooker, author of ‘Looking for a City,’ ‘Duncan Hambeth: Furniture King of the South,’ and ‘Rocket Man: A Rhapsody of Short Stories.’ Tim is currently an English instructor at Cleveland State Community College in Cleveland, TN.
You know you are deeply imbedded in a culture when you take for granted things that other people have never heard of.
That’s what I’ve had to learn along the way. And, there’s no better example of it than Ruling Days. You can call it Hillbilly Witchcraft. You can call it White Magic. Or, you may think it’s simply a load of malarkey. But, Ruling Days have been around as long I can remember.
The core idea behind Ruling Days is that certain days are predictors for weather for the upcoming year. More specifically, those days coincide with what others would call Kingdomtide or The Twelve Days of Christmas.
According to the legend of Ruling Days, the weather on December 25th will be the predominant weather for the upcoming January. The weather on December 26th will indicate what kind of weather you will have in February. December 27th will forecast the weather for March. And, on it goes, until you get to the forecaster of the next December, which falls on Epiphany, aka January 6.
Trust me. The old folks in my neck of the woods swear by it. And, I, myself, have found it to be uncannily accurate.
I’m not an anthropologist, so I wouldn’t dare attempt to conjure a theory on how Ruling Days developed. I do know Southern Appalachia was settled by folks whom the European feudal system more or less rejected. And, so, some of the original settlers may have still had a bit of orthodoxy in them and they simply adapted it to their purposes.
I don’t know.
But, Ruling Days is a part of our culture. It’s a part that no amount of intellectualism or sophistication can take away. It’s in us, and that’s what makes it real.