Onion Snow

17-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today: 

Monday, March 17, 1913:  The green was in evidence today. Got caught in a blizzard this morning going to school but it didn’t last very long.

Ruth and I went to a party this evening up at McEwensville. It was going to be a surprise party, but it didn’t quite turn out that way.


Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:

It sounds like they had an “onion snow.”  We used to always try to plant our onions by mid-March; and, we’d say that there’d be one more snow storm—the onion snow— after the onions were planted.

What was the party?. . . a St.Patrick’s Day party?  . . . a birthday party?. .  and why didn’t it end up being a surprise party?


12 thoughts on “Onion Snow

  1. I’ve never heard of an “onion snow”. It’s funny: when I saw the title of your post in my e-mail, I thought it was onion SHOW! I was definitely curious….

  2. Do you suppose everyone wore green like we do today? I never heard of onion snow either, but I saw “tapioca snow” once in the mountains of California. It was a very dry snow that looked like uncooked tapioca.

  3. what a great name – Onion snow! As to the wearing of the green – a few hundred years ago, the color of Ireland was golden yellow. It was the Brits that imposed the green.
    Just a bit o’history for you on this St. Patty’s Day.

  4. We had onion snow yesterday. It is nice to hear you call it that too. So many people around here do not call it that or even know what onion snow is anymore here in north central PA – I am not from PA and know what it is. I will always like the term. Anyway like Helena I got caught in it. Unlike Helena I had a car to keep me warm and dry.

  5. What a fun country-fide saying ‘onion snow’ . We had a thing in our family, on Halloween night, Daddy would make really thinly sliced potatoes on a mandolin and fry them up in a cast pan till super crispy with lots of salt. We called them Halloween potatoes.

  6. I’ve heard that saying, “onion snow”. Perhaps from my extended family? Anyway, I was wondering, did people back then even celebrate St. Patrick’s Day?

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