Will it rain on my Rose Parade? The rules: No Sundays, water themes, or Supreme Court Justices equals no rain

Dolphins on the Cunard float at the 2011 Showcase of Floats
Cunard float dolphins at 2011 Showcase of Floats

by Laura Berthold Monteros

There are two maxims about the Rose Parade that everyone in Pasadena knows: There’s never a parade on a Sunday, and it doesn’t rain on the parade.  Some say that the sunshiny days the Tournament of Roses has enjoyed are God smiling on the parade due to the “Never on Sunday” rule, which has held since the first time Jan. 1 fell on a Sunday in 1893 and the parade was moved to Jan. 2.  The second—well, 10 rainy days in a century-and-a-quarter isn’t a bad batting average.

What about the upcoming Rose Parade? Southern California weather forecasts are notoriously inaccurate, but here’s what we can say. It will be cold overnight and into the morning until sunup, when it might be  mild, warm, or hot. We’ve known it to shower right up to step-off at 8 a.m., when the skies open up and the California sunshine pours through, and we’ve walked around the post-parade Showcase of Floats in the rain.

The odds of rain? About one in 12, but that figure doesn’t mean much. The rainy years were closer together in the beginning, at two every 12 years: 1895, 1899, 1906, 1910, 1916, 1922, 1934, 1937. Note that the first one was only two years after the Never on Sunday rule went into effect. Then came a break of 18 years to 1955, when Chief Justice Earl Warren was the Grand Marshal, and a hiatus of a whopping 51 years to 2006, when Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor was Grand Marshal. That has led Continue reading “Will it rain on my Rose Parade? The rules: No Sundays, water themes, or Supreme Court Justices equals no rain”