As April is here, I thought I could put my down jacket away. But no, I still need it. I was talking about this spring cold with my students who told me a Korean saying that expresses this situation: 꽃샘추위 got-sem-chu-ui. (Often Korean sayings have four Chinese characters, but this one is only in hangeul.)
In the naver dictionary this expression is translated into English as ‘a cold snap’ or ‘a sudden frost’.
But the Korean meaning is a lot more poetic. If we translate every word, we get 꽃 flower 샘 envy 추위 cold. So this saying expresses the time of year (usually around the end of March) when winter is coming to an end and the flower buds appear. But the winter doesn’t want to leave and becomes envious of the flowers – because the flowers are a sign that winter is over and spring is here. So a cold wind comes back for a final blast trying to kill off the early flower buds. It’s like a final battle for power between the old winter and the young spring. But of course the winter will have to surrender in the end.