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Las Cabañuelas Is a Mexican Way to Predict the Weather

Storm of Cabo Corrientes Puerto Vallarta
Credit: Harriet Murray

Hola amigos. Do you know there is an ancient method to predict the weather for the whole year? Believe it or not, there is one. Las Cabañuelas is a Mexican way to predict the weather.

To tell the truth, few people know this term and there are even fewer people who know how to apply this empirical science.

It turns out that Las Cabañuelas is a very old method that is not specific to Mexico. There are many other countries from all around the world that use this way to predict the weather throughout the year. The time chosen to predict the weather varies depending on the country. It is worth saying that this ancient knowledge dates from the Babylonian times.

In Mexico we learned this ancient method to predict the weather from the Aztecs and they got this knowledge from the Mayas.

What exactly is Las Cabañuelas? How can we predict the weather for the whole year? Is it possible to do that? According to this very old method, yes it’s possible.

This is how it works: The first 12 days of January represent the 12 months of the year. For example, if on the 6th of January we have a sunny day with 24°C (75°F) temperature, it means that for the month of June we will mainly have warm temperatures and sunny days. It works the same way for the rest of the months. Then, from the 13th to the 24th the months go backwards. That is to say, the 23rd of January represents February with the same logic.

After the 24th, from the 25th to the 30th of January, the days are divided in half and every half is for the corresponding month. Finally, the 31st is divided into hours and every month has 2 hours to tell the time of each month. It is important to keep the record of the days in order to have the correct information about the weather.

So, at the end of January you have a compilation of different kinds of weather for every month. The Aztec and the Mayas and many other ancient civilizations knew when to plant and when to harvest. This method was very useful for them. Nowadays, some people who grow vegetables and corn and other crops still use this method to set their calendars according to Las Cabañuelas.

It is interesting how they divided (and some people still divide) all the days of January into the different months to tell the time for the whole year.

Even though it might sound like shaky science, this method of predicting the weather has been used through many centuries, so there is some validity to this practice.

For fun, why don’t you figure out what weather lies ahead for you in 2018 using Las Cabañuelas?


  1. For the Las Cabanuelas—Would have been nice to have this information before Jan. 1–it is already Jan. 20. Could have been fun.

  2. This is all very interesting, but rather peculiar, since the application of the concept in antiquity is questionable. How does one account for the shift from the Julian to the Gregorian calendar, something that took over three centuries to standardize around the globe? That would certainly confound one’s reckonings. And how might it have been viewed by pre-hispanic peoples (or even Muslims) who employed a completely different calendar altogether? Just a thought.


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