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This blog is dedicated to Malta - my island home. My aim is not to bore you with history but to share my thoughts and a few facts together with a photo or two. For a more in -depth background of the island please go here. The purpose of this blog is not to point out the short-comings of the island. There are plenty that do that already. My wish is to show you the beauty of an island at the cross roads of the Mediterranean, a melting pot of history; a place where fact and fiction are sometimes fused to create unique myths and legends; a country that has been conquered so many times that our culture is a mish mesh of the lands that surround us and of lands far away. I confess that my greatest desire is to make you fall in love with this tiny enchanting island.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Maltese Traditions (1) – The Calends (L-Irwiegel)

In the days before weather forecasts and satellites, the people of these islands (mostly the farmers) adopted a curious method of trying to predict the weather for the following year. Starting on the twelfth day before Christmas, they would observe the weather of each day noting shifts in the wind, the amount of clouds in the sky, and any rainfall or sunshine. The first day on which this was done, December 13th, would correspond to January, the next day to February and so on. In this way they thought they would have an idea of what the next year would bring. This ancient way of predicting the weather is common  in most parts of Europe, although in some countries, the calends (irwiegel) start on different days. Countries whose calends start on the same day as Malta are Portugal, Sicily (from where this tradition was most likely adopted), France, Croatia and certain provinces in Italy. Each day started at midnight and farmers, or anyone else interested in predicting the weather in this ancient fashion, were supposed to take note of the weather variations that occurred throughout the course of each day.

Rainy days 001

Anyone inclined to follow this tradition can start noting the weather patterns each day from next Monday until Christmas eve. So, we will soon know whether we are going to have a warm February (which has not been unusual these last couple of years) or hail in August (highly unlikely). Although there is no scientific data to back this tradition, some elderly farmers claim that they used to use this method with success. Nowadays, this tradition has all but died out since it is considered to belong to the realms of superstition and ignorance. Personally, I think that there is no harm in trying this out, just for fun. After all, there is usually an element of truth in all traditions that have spanned so many generations. So, rain or shine? If the irwiegel are to be believed, I guess we will find out soon.

Bahrija 27.02.10 (26)

(Believe it or not, this photo of a cloudless sky was taken last February).

10 comments:

  1. Wow Loree...love this post..all the photos are gorgeous..and that last photo captivates me! Love reading all this fascinating info...very cool! thanks for giving me more to explore! Have a most magical day!!
    and i just want to say..i so appreciate your wonderful visits! You rock!
    Kiki~

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  2. I love the last photo, too. that is one nice place to go for a walk, i think. :)

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  3. I had never heard of that tradition. It would be fun to keep a log of weather patterns starting Monday and see what happens. :)

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  4. I know the tradition (we have proverbs such as Noël au balcon, Pâques au tison, which means Christmas on the balcony, Easter at the fireplace!) but didn't know how it was called. Beautiful photos, such a contrast with the icy and snowy mess here.

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  5. Wow...I ask myself if was your grandfather who told this story to you. There's all the way of a story told by a grandfather.
    Anyway, I think traditions like these make the places where we live more like a home. A little less of Chinese and U.S. things to buy and more from our own history to live.
    And your pics keep being beautiful :)

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  6. I don´t know this tradition but your images are superbe. It´s incredible, that´s a image from February. Hugs from frozen Luzia;-))

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  7. Loree, this is a wonderful local story full of history... your photos are, per usual, just stunning!

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  8. Beautiful images - especially the cloudless sky photo. Interesting history and tradition. As I am late in seeing this, did you keep track of your weather for the time period?

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  9. Beautiful photos, interesting website. Thank you.

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