Chicken’s Foot

Photo by Lucas van Oort on Unsplash

Okay, this is a bit weird, but try and put yourself in a non-English frame of mind. My Italian mother had this little phrase that helped her get through the dark miserable days of winter. It referred to feet — or rather, footprints. Some time in early January was the chicken’s foot — passagio di gallina (if I’ve spelt it correctly). Then, about a month later, was the dog’s foot — passagio di cane. A few weeks after that came the passagio de leone — and you can guess what that was.

So what’s all this about chicken’s feet? Well, a chicken’s footprint is quite small and represents the tiny increase in daylight as the winter progresses. A dog’s footprint is bigger, so the hours of daylight have increased accordingly. Happy is the day of the lion’s foot.

I’ve tried to find this saying on the internet, but there’s no reference to it. Don’t think she made it up and I’d love to know the exact wording.

But when we get past the darkest days of winter, my family knows exactly what I mean when I say we’re coming up to the chicken’s foot.



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Laura Sheridan

Laura Sheridan

I write to entertain, explain…and leave a tickle of laughter in your brain.