A Day In The Life

Red Sky
January 11, 2008, 8:56 pm
Filed under: Odds and Ends

Have you ever heard or used the phrase “Red sky at morning, traveler’s warning.  Red sky at night, traveler’s delight” ?  I can’t remember what brought it up, but the other day Mom and I had an argument intellectual discussion concerning this phrase.  Mom firmly stated that the phrase was an old Navy saying and that “sailor’s” was the correct word rather than “traveler’s”.  I countered just as firmly that the phrase originated in the Bible.  I think I said something like, “Mom! Jesus said it.  It’s in the Bible and Jesus was talking about traveling.”  Then I got The Look.  You know what I’m talking about, that expression in the eyes that only mothers can beam out.  It’s a look that speaks volumes and, try as I might, I can’t emumlate it.  Mother’s hold a patent on The Look.  The Look can mean many different things, but in this instance it was translated as, “Don’t argue with your mother because I’m older and wiser.” 

Well, I don’t deny that my mom is older and wiser, but I knew I had read the “red sky” phrase in the Good Book.  What could I do, but look it up?  It turns out that both of us were correct to an extent.  A similar phrase is in the Bible; Matthew 16: 2-3.  Jesus said, “When it is evening, ye say, It will be fair weather: for the sky is red.  And in the morning, It will be foul weather today: for the sky is red and lowering….”  Jesus was not talking about traveling.  He was rebuking the Pharisees and Sadducees who had asked Him to show them a sign from heaven.  I also googled  ‘red sky at morning’ and found this interesting discussion on the origins of the phrase.   


8 Comments so far
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That is an interesting discussion. I had always heard the “sailor’s” version but then I am married to a sailor. My question always was what if you go to be at night with a red sky expecting to be delighted and then wake up to the red sky at morning? Huh, what then?

Comment by Sandy

I asked my resident Navy sailor, and when I said the phrase, he immediately knew it was “sailor’s.” He knew it had to do with a weather phrase, to help the Navy boys know when things would be tumultuous.

Roger and Mom rule!

Comment by Tiggerlane

I always heard it as ‘Sailor’s.’ I guess I don’t read the bible enough to be familar with its use there, but was inpressed with your research skills!

Comment by Devon

Your blog has a new look since my last visit. You have presented an interesting discussion about red skies. As I understand, this saying has some scientific validity in northern hemisphere. Weather generally moves west to east. If the evening sky in the west is red, the clouds in the sky are creating the redness indicating bad weather is moving towards us. If the morning sky in the east is red, the clouds in the sky are creating the redness indicating bad weather is moving away from us.

Comment by mjd

the hubby and I talked about this some time ago — as we both knew it was something Jesus said. We wondered why the weather patterns would be so similar around the world.

Comment by Pamela

I think I heard it as “Red sky at night, sheperds delight?” Well all the same at least you were both right.. to an extent anyway 🙂

Comment by hazed

I always knew it to be “sailors”. And I also knew that Jesus mentioned it in the Bible, too. The website you reference was very interesting. More trivia to fill my head with.

Comment by Nekked Lizard Lady

[…] my original post about red sky, click here.   I didn’t touch up these photos.  These colors are exactly what I saw as I drove to […]

Pingback by Red Sky Revisited « Quarter Notes

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