traditional weather forecasting methods

Peasants and farmers in Lebanon adopt many traditional weather forecasting methods to assist them in planting and harvesting crops. One of these methods is Al-Bawahir, which continues to be embraced by the elderly, despite modern scientific advancements confirming the inability of humans to predict weather conditions beyond a ten-day timeframe, and even though the forecasts provided by meteorologists often change within a week or from day to day.

Al-Bawahir are divided into two parts; Western and Eastern, according to the Gregorian and Julian Christian calendars, respectively. According to the Western calendar, It begins on September 14 each year, the day that coincides with the Feast of the Cross for Christians. However, according to the Eastern calendar, Al-Bawahir begins on September 27.

Al-Bawahir are linked to the agricultural calendar in Lebanon. September 14 marks the practical end of summer and the beginning of the wet season. Historically, it signified the beginning of a new agricultural annual cycle, during which agricultural agreements were concluded and landowners rented their orchards and vineyards for the next agricultural year (from one Feast of the cross to the next), and wage-earners, shepherds, and agricultural workers contracted with their landowners to work for them for a full year. Additionally, many popular proverbs summarize the climatic factors observed in September.

One of the Al Bawahir techniques involved observing the movement, coldness, intensity, direction, and humidity of the winds. Clouds are also monitored, taking into account their color, height, and density. Humidity, frost, dew, and temperature are observed to determine the upcoming weather conditions throughout the year. Some people forecast the weather using salt:  Salt is placed on a fig leaf or a flat piece of wood every day after the Feast of the Cross. The condition of each leaf is assessed for a full day over the course of a month. By observing if the leaf dries up, gets wet, or displays dew points, the upcoming weather conditions are predicted.

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