A snowflake with a counter-clockwise arrow around it

Past winter's snow

Meaning: Forgotten past events

Originated in: 🇫🇮 Finland

Original quote: Menneen talven lumia (Finnish)

Saying something is a “past winter’s snow” means it is past and forgotten and irrelevant. Snow falls, sits there for maybe a couple months, and then melts; and that snowfall is never thought about again. So this idiom refers to something that once was very present in your thoughts but now is completely gone.

Most commonly this is used with negative connotations. It is typically like saying something is a past fad or last year’s model. You can say it about clothes or music that is no longer popular. It can also be used on a more personal level. Maybe you used to be obsessed with a specific game, but now you don’t even think about it. It’s a past winter’s snow.

However, it can be used in a more positive way. In this sense, it’s equivalent to the English idiom “water under the bridge”. Maybe you wronged someone in the past, but now it’s forgiven and forgotten. Maybe you had a fight with someone, but now everything is good.

It can also be used similarly in a reassuring way. Probably most famously, Ahti says this early in the video game Control to comfort the protagonist. Even though at the time she was dealing with an assault from interdimensional horrors, he was telling her that the incident would be resolved and that someday the whole thing would be a distant, forgotten memory. Even though problems can seem big at the time, eventually they will get worked out, and they will look small in hindsight.