Caricature of Old Man Winter
Caricature of Old Man Winter

Old Man Winter is a personification of winter.[1][2] The name is a colloquialism for the winter season derived from ancient Greek mythology and Old World pagan beliefs evolving into modern characters in both literature and popular culture.[3] He is usually depicted as an old man, most commonly blowing winter over the landscape with his breath, or simply freezing the landscape with his very presence.

"His breath roared out from his lips, Stopping all streams at their source. The feet of Old Man Winter walked upon the earth, freezing all the grass."

— Nancy Wood[4]


Humans have associated the winter season with deities since the ancient Greek god of winter Boreas, the Norse god of winter Ullr and continuing on in other cultures including Celtic mythology with the goddess Cailleach and goddess Beira.[3] Over time, the old gods of winter changed to new humanizations of the seasons, including Old Man Winter.[3] However, some cultures had a character clearly named "Old Man Winter", where the name was not a shorthand for some other god or spirit. Among the Potawatomi people of the Western Great Lakes region, there exists a myth about Old Man Winter, called Pondese in their language.[5] Old Man Winter was a character in Iroquois legends. [6]

Popular culture

There are countless references to this personification of winter throughout literature, music, games, cultural events and even in advertising.



Sports and games


Food and drink

See also


  1. ^ Oxford English Dictionary
  2. ^ Farlex Dictionary
  3. ^ a b c AccuWeather: Winter tales and myths: Where did Old Man Winter, Jack Frost come from?
  4. ^ a b Wood, Nancy (1974). Many Winters: Prose and Poetry of the Pueblos. New York, NY: Doubleday. ISBN 0385308655.
  5. ^ Neely, Justin; Velie, Alan R. (2018). "Pondese: Old Man Winter and Why We Have Spring Today". In Palmer, Gus (ed.). When Dream Bear Sings: Native Literatures of the Southern Plains. University of Nebraska Press. pp. 51–54. ISBN 978-0803284005.
  6. ^ a b Powers, Mabel (1917). Stories the Iroquois Tell Their Children. New York, NY: American Book Company.
  7. ^ Brain, J. Walter (2015). "The Poet at Walden II". The Concord Saunterer. 23: 135–146. JSTOR 44484707. Retrieved 10 April 2022.
  8. ^ Dorne, Albert (1941). "Old Man Winter". Modern Graphic History Library, Washington University in St. Louis.
  9. ^ "Keep "Old Man Winter" Out". North Carolina Digital Collections. Retrieved 11 April 2022.
  10. ^ "Old Man Winter Bike Rally & Run". Retrieved 11 April 2022.
  11. ^ "Horse Profile for Old Man Winter". Equibase. Retrieved 11 April 2022.
  12. ^ "Old Man Winter" (PDF). Mireau Music. Retrieved 11 April 2022.
  13. ^ "Old Man Winter Porter". Ribstone Creek Brewery. Retrieved 11 April 2022.
  14. ^ "Old Man Winter Ale". Southern Tier Brewing Company. Retrieved 11 April 2022.
  15. ^ "Old Man Winter Old Ale". Cape Cod Beer. Retrieved 11 April 2022.