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Home Paros Life - Current Issue Backissue Nr. 119
  Nr. 119 - October 2008
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The "Minologia"

by Iris Papathanasiou, October 2008
Every year on Paros, during the month of August, a few elderly Parians fast – in order to gain a clearer perception – and study nature hour by hour so that they can make a weather forecast for the following 12 months. This ancient tradition is called the “minologia”.

They find a quiet spot in the hills, far from the noisy crowds, or go by caique to one of the few deserted beaches that cannot be easily accessed. There they watch the flight of the birds, the behaviour of the fish, they study the leaves on the trees, the shadows on the moon, the clouds and the winds, and interpret the messages that nature sends to them about the coming year. Observing closely and listening carefully they notice and record everything that is happening around them. Sometimes even the energy and the behaviour of people can tell them a few things about the future.

It isn’t easy to find someone to tell you about the traditional practice of the “minologia”. It could be because those who still do it today are probably the last people in our time who still believe in this method that dates back to ancient Greece and other cultures. They are hesitant to talk about what they see and how they interpret it, as they are usually regarded with disbelief.

I couldn’t find any elderly Parian who would explain these signs to me; I suppose I knew they never would. But a younger Parian who does the “minologia” each year was happy to tell me about it as long as he could remain anonymous. He told me he learned how to look at the signs from his father and grandfather. “My grandfather was never wrong in his predictions. But through the years the practice has diminished as we do not rely absolutely on the weather in the same way these days. In former times it was much more important for people to know if their crops would have a good year, or when they should avoid going out to sea because of dangerous weather conditions.

“We study the signs during the first six days of August. Each day represents two months, starting from September. So 1/8 represents September and October, 2/8 November and December and so on… In northern Greece they do this for 12 days, each day representing one month, as the changes do not happen so swiftly as they do on Paros. We also study the days between 14 and 20 August, to make a better prediction by comparing the two calendars, the old (Julian) and the new (Gregorian). I have been doing this for 12-13 years now and most of the time it is the old calendar that is more correct.

“Sometimes, though, there are unusual conditions that cannot be foreseen. If something occurs in the Pacific Ocean, for example, it can affect our weather here, as happened last February. The cold and snow could not have been predicted.”

So according to these signs, the next few months will roughly be as follows:

September shows two rains.
October shows mostly fine weather, south winds and also two rains.
November has no rain. The winds change continually from south to north throughout the month.
December is a relatively dry month and the weather is sunny.
January continues with good weather but towards the end of the month we will have very bad conditions with rains and strong winds.
February seems to have little rainfall. (Some others, however, saw that February will be very cold and the weather terrible.)
March and until the beginning of April will have a lot of rain.
From May until July it will be hotter than usual and we should expect heatwaves.

We know that the first rains did, indeed, come in September this year. So let’s see what happens for the remainder of the year…

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