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Why do people say ‘right as rain’?

14 Apr

OH MY GOD, it's a DOUBLE RAINBOW

We British have learned to tolerate rain, at best.  Most folk would not describe it as ‘right’ at all.  So where does this phrase come from?  The distant shores of South America!
In the last few years Peru has been the world’s greatest producer of silver, by volume.  The landscape is rich with untapped minerals and precious metals.  Right up until the 15th century the main inhabitants were the Incas; a tribal-based agricultural society who may seem quite primitive to us now, but were on par with the Egyptians for learning and culture.  Plus they made beer, which is a sure sign they were on the ball.
The rain was of course important to them for watering the crops, but it goes further than that.  The rich minerals in the mountainsides found their way into the rivers and lakes during heavy monsoon periods, and cycled in the clouds and rain.  Traces of silver especially would taint the water in very wet seasons.
However, the result was far from tainting the water sources.  Silver has become widely used recently as a coating for plasters because of its antibacterial properties.  It is an excellent healing tool.  The Incas learned this long before we did, noticing during and after heavy rains that cuts, abrasions and minor maladies would recover far more quickly.  Thus if someone had a wound, they would tell them the rain would make it right.  Five centuries and several translations later, the phrase ‘right as rain’ remains.
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Posted by on April 14, 2010 in Why?

 

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