A sunshower or sun shower is a meteorological phenomenon in which rain falls while the sun is shining. These conditions often lead to the appearance of a rainbow, if the sun is at a low enough angle. Although used in the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland and Britain, the term "sunshower" is rarely found in dictionaries. Additionally, the phenomenon has a wide range of sometimes remarkably similar folkloric names in cultures around the world. A common theme is that of clever animals and tricksters getting married or related to the devil, although many variations of parts of this theme exist.
- In Afrikaans, this phenomemon, i.e. when it rains and the sun shines is referred to as Jakkals trou met wolf se vrou, meaning 'Jackal marries wolf's wife'.
- In Bangladesh, the Fox is getting married "shial mamar bia hosse"
- In Brazil, "Casamento da Raposa" (Fox's Wedding) or "Sol e chuva, casamento de viúva", which is a rhyme that means 'Sun and rain, widdow's wedding/marriage".
- In Bulgaria, there is a saying about a bear and a fox getting married.
- In El Salvador, the traditional belief is that the deer is giving birth.
- In Eritrea, the traditional belief is that the hyena is giving birth.
- In France, it is called "le mariage du loup" or "the wolf's wedding"
- in Greece they say "ήλιος και βροχή, παντρεύονται οι φτωχοί. Ήλιος και φεγγάρι, παντρεύονται οι γαιδαροι." Sun and rain, the poor are getting married. Sun and moon, the donkeys are getting married"
- In Guyana, it is known as "Sun-Rain ".
- In Hawaii, it is known as "Ghost Rain".
- In Italy they say "Piove e c'è il sole, la gatta fa l'amore" which means "It rains with the sun, the (female) cat is making love".
- In Japan, it is known as "kitsune no yomeiri", or "the kitsune's wedding", and means a fox's wedding ceremony is being held.
- In Kenya, hyenas are getting married.
- In Korea, a male tiger gets married to a fox.
- In Mazandarani language, in north of Iran, it is also called "the jackal’s wedding".
- In Morocco, it is the "wolf's wedding".
- In Nepal (Nepali), it is called "the foxes wedding" or "gham-paani, gham-paani shyal ko bihe" which literally translates to "Sunshine-rain, sunshine-rain, the fox is getting married". In fact there's a local song dedicated to Sunshower.
- In Pashto, it is also called "Da gidarh wade" or "the jackal's wedding".
- In Pakistani Punjab, it is also called "Kani gidh Da waye" or "one eye jackal's wedding".
- In Philippines, the traditional belief is that the wedding of a tikbalang is being held.
- In Sinhala, it is called "the foxes wedding" (අව්වයි වැස්සයි, නරියගෙ මගුලයි.).
- In South African English, a sunshower is referred to as a "monkey’s wedding", a loan translation of the Zulu umshado wezinkawu, a wedding for monkeys.
- In Sudan, the Donkey and Monkey are getting married.
- In various African languages, leopards are getting married.
- In Sweden it's called "vitterväder".
- In Trinidad and Tobago, it is called "Monkey Marriddin" or monkeys getting married.
- In parts of the United Kingdom (specifically within Stoke-Sub-Hamdon, Yeovil, Somerset), it is referred to as "a monkey's birthday".
- In Tanzania, they say "Simba anazaa" - literally "the lioness is giving birth."
- In Bengali, it is called "the foxes wedding".
- In Gujarati, it is called "naago varsaad", meaning Naked Rain.
- In Hindi, it is also called "the foxes wedding".
- In Kannada, it is called "Kaage Nari maduve" which means Crow and fox getting married" (ಕಾಗೆ ನರಿ ಮದುವೆ)
- In Konkani, it is called "a monkey's wedding".
- In Marathi, it is called "Nagda Paaus" literally meaning "Naked Rain".
- In Malayalam, it is called the Fox's wedding (കുറുക്കന്റെ കല്യാണം)
- In Oriya, it is called "the foxes wedding"(ଖରା ହେଉଛି ମେଘ ହେଉଛି, ଶିଆଳ ପୁଅ ବାହା ହେଉଛି).
- In Tamil, it is called the fox and the crow/raven are getting married (காக்காவுக்கும் நரிக்கும் கல்யாணம்).
- In Telugu, it is called "Yenda Vanala, kukkala nakkala pelli" which means "Dogs and Foxes getting married in the sunshowers" (ఎండా వానలో కుక్కల, నక్కల పెళ్ళి).
In the United States, particularly in the Southern United States, and in Hungary as well, a sunshower is said to show that "the devil is beating his wife" (or, more rarely, "the devil is beating his wife with a walking stick") because he is angry God created a beautiful day. The rain is said to be his wife's tears. A regional variant from Tennessee is "the devil is kissing his wife". In French, the phrase is "Le diable bat sa femme et marie sa fille" (i.e., "the devil is beating his wife and marrying his daughter"). In the Netherlands they say that there is a "funfair going on in hell". In St. Kitts and Nevis, when rain is falling and the sun is shining, it is said that 'D devil a bang he wife'. In Liberia, it is said that "the devil is fighting with his wife over a chicken bone."
- In Lithuanian and Estonian (vaeslapse pisarad), the phenomenon is described as "orphans' tears", where the sun is the grandmother drying those tears.
- In Russian, it is called грибной дождь (gribnoy dozhd'), "mushroom rain", as such conditions are considered favorable to growing mushrooms.
- In Indonesian, the phenomenon is the sign of someone who is rich and well known has died in the place where the sunshower happened, so the sky is showing its condolences.
- In Catalonia it is said that the witches are brushing their hair, "les bruixes es pentinen".
- In the Caribbean islands such as Puerto Rico and The Dominican Republic, it is said that a witch is getting married.
- In Trinidad and Tobago, "Sun shining, Rain falling, Monkey marrying"
- In Haiti, it is said that a zombie is beating his wife for salty food. Devil is sometimes interchanged for zombie.
- In Argentina, it is said that an old woman is getting married.
- In Croatia, it is said that gypsies are getting married, "Cigani se žene".
- In Macedonia, it is also said that gypsies are getting married, "Циганка се мажи", and also that a bear is getting married, "Мечка се жени/мажи".
- In the Netherlands, a sunshower is sometimes called "chicken carnival".
Modern cultural references
- Akira Kurosawa's film "Dreams" has a segment about a young boy witnessing a fox wedding procession during a sunshower.
- US soul singer Thelma Houston called her 1969 debut album "sunshower".
- English-Sri Lankan musician M.I.A. recorded a single "Sunshowers" in 2004. The song appears on her 2005 debut album Arular.
- Symonds, Steve, Weather Terms - Wild Weather, 2004, ABC North Coast, Retrieved November 2006.
- Quinion, Michael, Monkey's Wedding, 2001, World Wide Words, Retrieved November 2006
- Vaux, Bert, Sunshower summary, 1998,linguistlist.org, retrieved November 2006
- Sunshower at Word Detective. Accessed August 6, 2007.
- Sunshower Devil Thread on Snopes.com. Accessed August 6, 2007.
- Samson, D. N. (1920). English into French: Five Thousand English Locutions Rendered into Idiomatic French, London: Humphrey Milford at Oxford University Press (digital copy at Archive.org, OCLC 259775152), p. 102: "It rains and shines at the same time : Le diable bat sa femme et marie sa fille"
- A Way with Words
- Blust, Robert (1998) The Fox's Wedding. Manuscript, University of Hawaii.
- Evgen'jeva, A. P., ed. (1985-) Slovar' russkogo jazyka v 4 tomakh, 3rd edition. Moscow.
- Kuusi, Matti (1957) Regen bei Sonnenschein: Zur Weltgeschichte einer Redensart. "Folklore Fellows Communications" n. 171, Helsinki 1957 (it appeared translated into Italian in the journal "Quaderni di Semantica" 13 (1992) and 14 (1993)).
- Hoffmann-Krayer, E. (1930–31) Handwörterbuch des deutschen Aberglaubens. Berlin and Leipzig: Walter de Gruyter.