I remember when I was a child in Italy sometimes they would play on the radio an old folk song called ‘Aspettavamo maggio, e maggio è arrivato’, which translates to ‘we were waiting for May, and May has arrived’.
The fact that Italian peasants would wait for May is understandable. They didn’t have the benefit of instant gas heating and hot water. They would have to work in freezing cold, and wet conditions with the added risk of chills that could be lethal.
So May would signify the start of the warm season, no wonder they were happy when it came.
In blazing hot Australia for me is the opposite. I would create a song that states ‘I was waiting for March, and March has arrived’. March signify that the horrible hot months of January and February are over.
Of course it is still hot in March, and most of the month is still in Summer. I tend not to follow the Australian custom that seasons start at the beginning of the month. I follow what the rest of the world does where the seasons start at the solstices or equinoxes. So for me Autumn will start on the 21st of March.
But for me the best indication of Melbourne’s weather is not the four seasons model which was developed in Northern Hemisphere Europe, but the seven seasons of the traditional owners of the Melbourne region, the Kulin People. They have seven seasons which match much more accurately what happens in Melbourne. March is Iuk Eel Season, which is very accurately described as ‘Hot winds cease and temperatures cool’.
That means that while we may still get 30 degrees days but the worst is over. Unlike the most depressing months of October and November where all I know is that we have the hot season in front of us, in March we are over the hump. And I can enjoy warm days in the knowledge that it’s only going top get cooler.