Why We Gather During the Worst Travel Weather

November 19, 2018
Worse Travel Weather During Holidays

Ever noticed that our important family holidays are during the absolute worst travel weather?  Well, it partly centers on our agricultural history.

Both European and American culture is created, in part, from agricultural roots. You do not travel and celebrate in spring; you need to plant your crops. You don’t do that in summer; the crops need to be tended. Fall is harvest time. That only leaves winter.

The Cows Are Slaughtered, The Corn Looks Good, Lets Drink Some Beer

In the 17th and 18th centuries, celebrations revolved around the winter solstice when the crops had been harvested, the cows had been slaughtered, and the wine and beer had fermented. After a long tough year, it was time to celebrate.

Pilgrims celebrated their first thanksgiving thanks in large part to their first successful corn harvest. Today, many family members venture from near and far to gather together —during one of the stormiest times of year!


Then, there is the Christmas holiday when longer family vacations are planned. How many times have you or relatives had airplane travel delay plans? It’s almost an annual tradition, too!


Many holidays end with a New Year celebration, as we toast to new beginnings, just as Julius Caesar celebrated Janus, the Roman god of beginnings. The night is fun, but careful you don’t get stranded by a cab in wintry weather on New Year’s Eve!

All kidding aside, it’s not only our agricultural past to consider, but also it’s just natural for us to come together in the darkest months to feast together and brighten the nights with festivals of lights. To do is a blessing. It’s just that darn travel weather!

How was your holiday travel this year—or, did you decide to stay put? Perhaps we should create some new travel traditions!




About This Blog

Are you a weather watcher? Welcome to “Weather Whispers” by James Garriss and until recently, Evelyn Browning Garriss. With expertise and humor, this column covers everything weather—from weather forecasts to WHY extreme weather happens to ways that weather affects your life from farming to your grocery bill. Enjoy weather facts, folklore, and fun!

With heavy hearts, we share the news that historical climatologist and immensely entertaining Almanac contributor Evelyn Browning Garriss passed away in late June 2017. Evelyn shared her lifetime of weather knowledge with Almanac editors and readers, explaining weather phenomena in conversation and expounding on topics in articles for the print edition of The Old Farmer’s Almanac as well as in these articles. We were honored to know and work with her as her time allowed, which is to say when she was not giving lectures to, writing articles for, and consulting with scientists, academia, investors, and government agencies around the world. She will be greatly missed by the Almanac staff and readers.