New Year's Weather Folklore: Predicting Weather in the New Year | The Old Farmer's Almanac

New Year's Eve Weather Folklore

Friends celebrating Christmas or New Year eve party with Bengal lights and rose champagne.
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What Weather Will This Year Bring?

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As the clock hits midnight on New Year’s Eve, many of us reflect on the past year while dreaming of the year ahead. Here at the Almanac, our thoughts often turn to the WEATHER! Although we rely on our long-range forecasts, we also enjoy the tradition of looking to weather folklore. Enjoy this New Year’s lore and see if it rings true!

New Year’s Weather Folklore

In particular, weather folklore often looks to the wind. Try this. Step outside as the sun sets on New Year’s Eve. Feel the wind and recite:

If New Year’s Eve the wind blows south
It betokens warmth and growth.
If west, much milk and fish in the sea.
If north, cold and storms there will be.
If east, the trees will bear much fruit.
If north east, then flee it, man and brute.

Then throw your New Year wishes to the wind!

Others believed the time to check out the wind was at sunrise on New Year’s Day, but it would be hard to wake up at dawn if you had any fun the night before!

(If you forgot to check the wind, don’t worry.)

new years weather folklore poem and graphic

First 12 Days of January

Some believe that the first 12 days of January can predict the weather for the entire year!

So, the weather on the first, good or bad, will reflect how January will feel. The second-day forecasts February, the third forecasts March, and so on.

You may have also heard: If there is thunder in January, it will snow seven days later. And fog in January brings a wet spring.

Forecasting by the Onion

My favorite is the onion method for predicting the weather for the year: Get twelve onions. From 11:00 pm to midnight on New Year’s Eve, remove the tops and create a hollow in the middle.

Get out your compass and line the onions in an east-west orientation. Place an equal amount of salt in each depression. (Then, explain to your fellow partiers why you smell like an onion!)

onions sliced in half to predict the weather on new years eve
If all else fails, check the onions!

Don’t look at the vegetables until the next morning. The salt has dissolved to varying degrees in each onion. The more water in each onion, the wetter the corresponding month will be in the coming year. After this, carefully add potatoes and other root veggies, rub with olive oil and spices, and bake.

Whether the onions are right or wrong, you’ll have a lovely New Year’s Day feast of roasted veggies.

But Do They Really Work?

Oddly enough, the majority of weather superstitions cited here do have a scientific basis in fact. But that doesn’t mean their accuracy rates are much to boast about… However, if they didn’t work at all, people wouldn’t have repeated and remembered them for so long.

Of course, you can also check this year’s Almanac forecast as a “human” point of reference. See our extended weather forecasts—or pick up a copy of The 2024 Old Farmer’s Almanac for more!

More Weather Folklore

Looking for more winter weather folklore? Check out:

About The Author

James J. Garriss

With an academic background in international business, James is a writer, editor and researcher for Browning Media LLC, helping to present accurate climatological projections. Read More from James J. Garriss