We’re a bit spoiled these days with detailed weather forecasts awaiting only a few clicks away. Have you ever wondered how people used to go about this before weather apps and modern meteorology? With no measuring instruments yet invented, they had only their environment and the skies above to rely on, giving way to a diverse body of weather folklore.
There are many folk sayings and customs related to weather in Croatia – too many for a single post. This time, we’ll focus on an old tradition that’s been passed down for generations among the people of Lokve, a town in the Gorski kotar region.
Called ‘brojanica’ in Croatian, the traditional method allows for predicting what the weather will be like in the entire year based on a short period in December – a fine example of weather lore preserved to this day.
Local folk meteorologists in Lokve carefully track weather conditions and changes during the 12 days between the holiday of St Lucia (December 13th) and Christmas Eve (24th). Each of those days is associated with one of 12 months in a year; the weather conditions recorded on a given day are taken as a forecast for the whole related month, with some adjustments to fit the different seasons. E.g. if it’s cold and sunny on St Lucia, it’s expected that the whole month of January will be cold and sunny as well.
Lake Lokve / velfran
Novi list reported that the diligent folk meteorologists in Lokve kept a close eye on the weather this past December as well, resulting in publication of the 2022 Lokve calendar with the forecast for the entire year.
What awaits us in 2022? The calendar designer Nikola Pleše says we don’t have to worry about extreme weather this year.
‘Tracking of the weather conditions between St Lucia and Christmas Eve has shown that those 12 days didn’t bring any extremes, so based on our tradition and folk wisdom, we don’t expect anything too dramatic in regards to weather conditions this year’, he said.
The forecast for January has already proven to be true. ‘In the first week of the new year, St Lucia will unfurl a tall, grey fog over Lokve and only show us sunlight and moonlight in traces. From the 20th of the month, days will be clearer and calm, but colder’, says the calendar. And even though this refers to Lokve in particular, the nearby Kvarner bay has also been completely enveloped in thick fog for the first week of 2022.
In the poetic forecast for the month of February, it’s said that ‘the skies will hide behind a tall, thick fog, in which not even little birds will dare to make a peep. From February 15th onwards, the sun will rip the fog apart…’.
Not much for the people of Gorski kotar to look forward to in March either: ‘Days will remain drooly, full of fog, adorned by a rare snowflake or glistening frost’, up to March 20th when the northern winds are expected to sweep the fog away.
Come April, the weather will finally start looking up, and in May, ‘days will be bright and warm, making people, birds and plants more cheerful.’ This trend will keep up in June, as the month is to be ‘sunny and dry, already in full bloom by Midsummer’s day (Ivanje), and more humid and hot towards St Peter’s Day (Petrovo).’
A lot of wonderful summer weather in July and August as well, leading to a bountiful harvest in September. ‘It will be a sunny, clear month, smelling of the abundance of everything we’ll have planted in Lokve soil this spring’, says the forecast.
And that’s about it when it comes to nice weather in Lokve this year. The last three months of 2022 will supposedly be quite damp, same as in the beginning of the year. A lot of fog, frost, and cold wind are expected in autumn, but it won’t be too cold until late December when the southern jugo wind will be replaced by the dry bura wind that will have the temperature drop sub zero and usher in the winter season.
The weather forecast for this year’s weather calendar was created by Mirjana Pleše and her daughter Ivana, Andreja Marković, Tanjica Šafar, Marijana Rakas and Eleonora Grgurić, with Nikola Pleše behind the calendar’s graphic design.
Beyond the folk traditions, Lokve is a fantastic destination for a day trip that will delight any fans of outdoor activities. The town is home to the cave Lokvarka, the deepest cave in Croatia open to the public. Not a fan of subterranean strolls? Head to the nearby Lake Lokve (Croatian: Lokvarsko jezero) for a scenic walk or a bike ride with a view. Make sure to contact the local tourist board beforehand, though – the (artificial) lake will be drained for a period of time in 2022 for regular maintenance, so you might as well know what kind of view to expect during your visit!