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A sunset sunshower in the Mojave desert
A Sunshower over Crater Mountain, Landers, California

A sunshower or sun shower is a meteorological phenomenon in which rain falls while the sun is shining.[1] A sunshower is usually the result of accompanying winds associated with a rain storm sometimes miles away, blowing the airborne raindrops into an area where there are no clouds, therefore causing a sunshower. Sometimes a sunshower is created when a single rain cloud passes overhead, and the Sun's angle keeps the sunlight from being obstructed by overhead clouds.

Sunshower conditions often lead to the appearance of a rainbow, if the sun is at a low enough angle.[1] Although used in the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland and the UK, the term "sunshower" is rarely found in dictionaries.[2] Additionally, the phenomenon has a wide range of sometimes remarkably similar folkloric names in cultures around the world.[3] A common theme is that of clever animals and tricksters getting married or related to the devil, although many variations of this theme are in existence.[2][3]

Folkloric names[edit]

A sunshower over Waller creek in Austin, Texas.
  • In Afrikaans, this phenomenon, i.e. when it rains and the sun shines, the traditional belief is Jakkals trou met wolf se vrou, meaning 'Jackal marries wolf's wife'.[4][5]
  • In Albania, when it rains and the sun shines, people say that a romani wedding is taking place somewhere near.
  • In Algeria and Tunisia, it is called "عرس الذيب – عرس الذئب (Ar's A'Dib)" or "the wolf's wedding"
  • In Bangladesh: "Shial mamar bia hoce" "Uncle Jackal is getting married"
  • In Basque: "Azeri besta" ("Fox feast") or "Azeri ezteia" ("Fox's wedding"): as the sun is shining, the chickens stay outside, but as it is also raining, they remain still, paralyzed by the rain; the fox seizes that occasion to eat them.
  • In Belgium, Flanders: the traditional belief is that of "Duiveltjeskermis" or "Devil's fair"
  • In Brazil, "Casamento da raposa" (vixen's wedding), "Sol e chuva, casamento de viúva", which is a rhyme that means "Sun and rain, widow's wedding/marriage" or "Chuva e sol, casamento do espanhol", which is a rhyme that means "Rain and Sun, Spanish man's wedding/marriage" (which is often used as a response to the first rhyme or vice versa).
  • In Bulgaria, there is a saying about a bear getting married.[2]
  • In Canada, it is also called "Jon Sunshowers" or "glitter waterfall".
  • In El Salvador, it is said that the deer is giving birth.
  • In Ethiopia and Eritrea, it is said that the hyena is giving birth.
  • In Finland, it is called "Ketut kylpevät" or "foxes are taking bath"
  • In France, it is traditionally believed that "Le mariage du loup" or "the wolf's wedding", or "giboulée" is taking place
  • In Galician, the traditional belief is that the vixen or the fox are getting married: casa a raposa / casa o raposo; sometimes the wolf and the vixen: Estanse casando o lobo coa raposa.[6]
  • in Greece they say "ήλιος και βροχή, παντρεύονται οι φτωχοί. Ήλιος και φεγγάρι, παντρεύονται οι γαιδαροι," which means "Sun and rain, the poor are getting married. Sun and moon, the donkeys are getting married."
  • In Hawaii, it is known as "ghost rain" or "liquid sunshine".
  • In Iran it is known as ".گرگ داره میزاد" which means "wolf giving birth".
  • 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 Jamaica, it is known as "Devil an''im wife a fight", or " The Devil and his wife are having a fight." This is significant of the two opposing elements Sun Vs. Rain.
  • 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 or monkeys are getting married.
  • In Korea, a male tiger gets married to a fox.
  • In the Mazandarani language, in north of Iran, it is also called "the jackal's wedding".
  • In Maldives, it is also "The rain that falls when a noble infidel dies".
  • In Tunisia and Morocco, it is the "wolf's wedding". In the north, they say: "Shta Wel Kayla Wel 'Urss Del 'Ayla" which means "The rain and the sun and the girl's wedding."
  • In Nepal (Nepali), it is called "a jackal's wedding" or "Gham-paani, gham-paani shyal ko bihe" which literally translates to "Sunshower, sunshower, a jackal's wedding". There are folksongs about sunshowers.
  • 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 it is said the devil is getting married.[7]
  • In Puerto Rico, it is said that witches are getting married.
  • In Sri Lanka in the Sinhala, it is called "the fox's 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.[2]
  • In Sudan, the donkey and monkey are getting married.
  • In various African languages, leopards are getting married.
  • In Sweden it is called "vitterväder".
  • In Trinidad and Tobago, it is called "Monkey Marriddin" or monkeys getting married.
  • In parts of the United Kingdom, traditional belief is that it is "a monkey's birthday".
  • In Tanzania, they say "Simba anazaa" – literally "the lioness is giving birth".
  • In Thailand, it is said to happen when somebody passes away.
  • In Zimbabwe, it is referred to as a "monkey's wedding".


  • In Assamese, it is called "Khonra xiyaalor biya (খঁৰা শিয়ালৰ বিয়া)", meaning "the bob-tailed fox's wedding".
  • In Bengali, it is called "the blind fox's wedding".
  • In Gujarati, it is called "Naago varsaad", meaning "naked rain".
  • In Hindi, it is also called "the ghosts' wedding".[2]
  • 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", meaning "naked rain".
  • In Malayalam, it is called "the fox's wedding" (കുറുക്കന്റെ കല്യാണം)
  • In Oriya, it is called "the fox's 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 Vanalo, kukkala nakkala pelli" which means "Dogs and foxes getting married in the sunshowers" (ఎండా వానలో కుక్కల, నక్కల పెళ్ళి). It can also be called "Kaki Pelli", which means "crow's marriage".
  • In Tangkhul tui , it is believed to be the wedding of a spirit to a human.


In the Southern United States, as well as in Hungary a sunshower is traditionally believed to be when "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 local belief from Tennessee is "the devil is kissing his wife".[8][9] In French, the indigenous belief is "Le diable bat sa femme et marie sa fille"[10] (i.e., "the devil is beating his wife and marrying his daughter").

Other variations[edit]

  • 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 traditionally believed to be favorable to growing mushrooms.[11] Also, it is called слепой дождь (slepoy dozhd'), "blind rain", because it doesn't see that it shouldn't be raining.[12]
  • 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 combing their hair: "Les bruixes es pentinen".
  • In Poland it is said that a witch is making butter, "Słońce świeci, deszczyk pada, baba jaga masło składa".
  • In the Caribbean islands such as Puerto Rico and The Dominican Republic, it is said that a witch is getting married.
  • In Guyana, it is known as "Sun-Rain".
  • 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 Serbia, It is said traditionally believed that angels are bathing, "Анђели се купају" (Anđeli se kupaju).
  • 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 Venezuela, the word 'cachimba' refers to raining while sunny.
  • In Cuba, "Se está casando la hija del diablo", i.e. "The Devil's daughter is getting married"
  • In Hebrew it is called a שמש משקרת (Shémesh meshakéret) – a lying sun
  • In Vietnamese, it is called "mua bong may" or "mưa bóng mây" (cloud shadow rain)

In popular culture[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Symonds, Steve (2004). "Weather Terms - Wild Weather". ABC North Coast. Retrieved 17 November 2006. 
  2. ^ a b c d e Quinion, Michael (2001). "Monkey's Wedding". World Wide Words. Retrieved 17 November 2006. 
  3. ^ a b Vaux, Bert (1998). "Sunshower summary". Retrieved 17 November 2006. 
  4. ^ Liebenberg, Helena. "Taalberigte: Agir en die Wolf". Taaloord (in Afrikaans). Retrieved 13 September 2014. 
  5. ^ "Afrikaanse idiome met hul verklarings". Mieliestronk (in Afrikaans). Retrieved 13 September 2014. 
  6. ^ Ferro Ruibal, Xesús (2007). "Cando chove e dá o sol... ¿Un fraseoloxismo internacional poliédrico?" (PDF). Cadernos de Fraseoloxía Galega (in Galician). Centro Ramón Piñeiro para a Investigación en Humanidades (9): 67–94. 
  7. ^ "Rare sunshower phenomenon". CNN iReport. Retrieved 23 October 2017. 
  8. ^ "Sunshower". Retrieved 13 September 2014. 
  9. ^ "Sunshower Devil Thread". Snopes. Retrieved 13 September 2014. 
  10. ^ Samson, D. N. (1920). English into French: Five Thousand English Locutions Rendered into Idiomatic French. London: Humphrey Milford at Oxford University Press. p. 102. OCLC 259775152. It rains and shines at the same time : Le diable bat sa femme et marie sa fille 
  11. ^ "A year of words". 
  12. ^ "Слепой дождь". (in Russian). 


  • 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.

External links[edit]