Knowing what the climate has in store for us is a question that since ancient times has been sought to unravel. The cabañuelas have that purpose. Used by Babylonians and Mayans, among other cultures of the past, this predictive form ensures to give a guide that in general terms indicates the weather conditions for each of the months of the year. Its practice has almost become obsolete, but many workers in the field and rural areas of Europe and America keep it in force and rely on them to grow their crops.


What are cabañuelas?

Las cabañuelas is a weather forecasting technique for a long period that is based on observing the weather during the month of January or August . It has no scientific basis, it is based on cultural beliefs and traditions that were transmitted orally by our predecessors.

  • Source
  • What are cabañuelas for?
  • How do they work
  • January Cabañuelas
  • August Cabañuelas
  • Other methodology
  • What does science say?
  • Importance
  • 2020 predictions
  • Other curious beliefs that predict the weather


Thousands of years before Christ, man sought a way to guide his actions by guessing the weather by various methods. Most based on the observation of the stars, the cosmos and time. The cabañuelas are believed to have started in Babylon . Other aboriginal cultures also threw themselves into the divination of the weather, among them the Mayans stand out. His calendar, which had 20 days and 18 months, was taken as the base and the month of January as the starting point. In Spain , it is believed that the tradition came into the hands of the Jews. The practice would originate from a festival called “the tabernacles . ” In it the walk of their ancestors through the desert was celebratedduring the search for the “promised land”. In that 40-year journey, rituals were held to learn what the weather had in store for them and these became a legacy.


What are cabañuelas for?

Having a long-term report (one year) on how the weather will behave has a fundamental role in agriculture . Although they are not always accurate, and even vary according to the forecaster who performs it, they give farmers an idea of ​​when will be the right time to carry out work on the land. Crops depend on having specific conditions for their sowing and subsequent harvesting . If they already have data on the rains, droughts or meteorological phenomena that await them, they can make timely planning. Meteorological science does not support this mechanism, as they point out that it is not possible to “guess”, much less for a full year.

How do they work

Not everyone makes cabañuelas, they are generally executed by people with extensive experience in the field and who have maintained a family tradition. They are called “cabañuelistas ”. They are not necessarily people wholly dedicated to the farmer. There are teachers and professors who believe in this system and have developed a “methodical” observation to make the predictions. They basically consist of taking 12 days of the month (January or February) to closely monitor the temperature, humidity, rainfall, cloudiness, winds, drought, etc., of each day and assign each of them to the months of the year. It is a complex procedure, because in addition another retrospective evaluation is made and a few hours are also taken into account. Hence the importance of predictor, of his annotations, memory and details that he uses in the system.

January Cabañuelas

It is the most practiced type. Whoever makes the prediction will have to take five steps:

  • The first step will be to analyze the first 12 days of January. Each day it will tell us how the weather will behave in the 12 months. For example, if there was a lot of rain on day 2 , it will be said that February (month 2) will be rainy. If day 6 was dry and sunny, in June there will be drought (month 6).
  • The second measurement will be taken from January 13 to 25. The same evaluation process as above will be carried out, but the assignment of the months and days will be done in reverse. The 25th will be December and the 13th will be January. They are called “cabañuelas back” .
  • The third step is to analyze the time again, but the days of January 25 to 30 are taken. Each day will represent two months. For example, the 26th will be March and April, while the 30th will be November and December.
  • The last assessment will take on January 31st and will segment it into two hours. Each interval is up to a month of the year and in descending order. For example, 12-2 is December and 4-6 October.
  • Finally, once all the information is collected, the expert will make an average on the types of climates obtained in each part, to reach a single conclusion.

August Cabañuelas

The month of August is also taken in some towns, especially in Spain, to perform measurements. Many even take both predictions (January and August). The form of evaluation and data collection is the same as that carried out in the first month of the year. The results will define the climate of the following year.

Other methodology

Another much more rudimentary way of weather divination, so to speak, is through the use of salt. To do this, 12 pieces of paper of the same size are taken and each one is written down with a pencil each month of the year. They are placed in separate containers and on top are added handfuls of salt in a spherical shape. They are observed during the first 12 days of the month of January. In the papers where the salt is moistened there will be precipitation and in those where it does not, there will be drought.

What does science say?

Science is blunt about it: cabañuelas make no sense . They are a custom without scientific technical bases. The main thing is that one month is not the same as another, much less establishes similar conditions for a whole year. Meteorologists say that it may be possible to get the time right in very short periods, thanks to observation experience and popular wisdom, but that it is unlikely to go further. The union classifies them as “pseudoscience”.

Scientific arguments

  • An effective forecast cannot be made by taking a specific place and day, as the weather does not develop individually from one place to another. For example, if a gale was created at a distance of several kilometers, it could reach the area and suddenly change a sunny morning due to precipitation in a very short period of time. The atmospheric system is anarchic . A phenomenon that occurs in a remote area can have a greater effect on the place scheduled for the prediction.
  • The days used to measure are arbitrary. There are not even bases that support that the Moon influences the meteorology. Its influence is negligible. The lunar cycle is only noticeable at tides. What does influence are the stationary cycles of the year.


The importance of the cabañuelas is only granted by those who believe in their predictions. Its value is more linked to maintaining the folklore and customs of the peoples. Preserve the teachings of your ancestors. That is why using them is less and less frequent . The meteorological centers do not take them into account.

2020 predictions

Cabañuelas carried out in Spain indicated that the month of January would be cold , with the presence of snow and constant rains. Similar outlook would have the first weeks of February. However there will be good rainfall for the fields, despite the frosts. In March the coldness would soften , although the snowfall drizzles will continue. In April rainfall will be scattered, with some hot days, although instability will be constant. The first 15 days of May will be rainy and cold . Then the temperature will rise at the end of the month. June will have lower temperatures than normal and will come with rains. However, a heat wave is expected from 23. July will be divided between rainfall and summer heat.. A humid heat will be felt in August, which will end with great storms although for a short time. September will have a cold start with probable hail. However, after the 21st the good weather will arrive with sunny days until October. November and December will have a similar climate, characterized by low temperatures and downpours.

Other curious beliefs that predict the weather

  • For many cultures it is an indication of precipitation when winged ants appear, if animals suffer cramps, when pigeons bathe or when a cat washes its face.
  • It is said that the weather will change drastically if a rooster crows during the day, if the animals calm down, if the cats begin to jump (there will be a gale).
  • When people feel discomfort in old wounds or scars (itching or pain) there will be more cold or heat.

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