The Ice Saints
In most countries there are 3 ice saints, but in our country there are 4. They are in order: Mameritus, Pankratius, Servatius and Boniface. The days on which these saints are honored are the last days when frost is possible. Because night frost in this period poses a great danger to the plants in the garden, this period of possible cold spring weather is very much feared. Plants belonging to the nightshade species such as potatoes and tomatoes in particular can be seriously damaged because the young crops emerge above the ground. Because of the risks to important vegetable garden plants, the history of the Ice Saints goes way back.
As early as the year 1000, writings throughout Western Europe warned against this dangerous period. In higher areas, such as the Alps, fires were lit at night during these days to protect the plants and trees against the dangers of night frost. This method is still used in Dutch orchards today.