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Romanian Traditional Rain Forecast

Claudia Miclaus Sep 27, 2018
How do Romanians predict rain? Although these days most of the superstitions have become obsolete, some practical ways to predict rain still remain.
Clouds are generally seen in the Romanian folk tradition as a misty element that rises from waters. Some say that they come out from the nostrils of a sleepy dragon. This dragon is believed to drink all the water from the seas and rivers.
According to another belief, the clouds are actually God's tissue. Every time He wants to send rain to the earth, God simply drops that tissue. Also, clouds are thought to represent a ladder to the heavens, on which God descends every time He wants to check on humans.
An even older tradition says that clouds stand for sun buffaloes which carry water to the Sun. When unnoticed by the sun, the buffaloes drop some of the water they carry, thus letting rain fall on earth. Romanian traditionalists share different ideas regarding the origin of rain.
Some believe it to be water swallowed by dragons from rivers and seas, then sent back to earth, whereas others say it comes from God Almighty, who actually decides whether the dragons to pour it on the earth or not, depending on how human creatures have previously behaved and obeyed Him.
As far as the master of the clouds is concerned, his identity seems to vary from one region to another. Some say he is God Himself, while others say he is in fact Saint Elijah, or Saint Peter. In other zones he is believed to bear the name of Eortan, a monster living in uninhabited caves.
Romanians traditionally thought they could predict weather by simply watching the clouds. Thus, pinkish clouds announced good weather; a cloudy Christmas sky would foretell an abundant summer; after rain, if the clouds went up, this meant bad weather, and if they went down, it meant good weather. Also, curly-shaped clouds predicted lack of rain.
There are also some specific superstitions that are thought to announce the arrival of rain. Such a sign appears in the morning, if you can see clouds in the east. Also, rain can be announced by bright hollows around the sun or the moon.
If the moon rises fully surrounded by clouds, it can be another sign for rain coming down on earth.
Rainbow appearing in morning is another sign. It may rain if wind blows from south or if clouds move opposite to the wind.
Those who don't feed their cats will have a rainy wedding day, and also young girls who like to stand and talk in the porch of their house.
When someone drowns, heavy rain usually follows. If the hens aren't already sleeping at twilight, this is also a sign of imminent rain, like the agitated state of the pig, which has straws in its mouth.
They say that if one pulls out grass with his/her hands, he/she calls for rain.
Folk legends say that sun showers fall on earth whenever an old woman, or a young maid is pregnant, or whenever a vampire lady or a gypsy girl gets married. If someone kills himself/herself, this suicidal act is likely to be followed by a long-lasting, heavy rain.
The same natural phenomenon can be caused by a murder or by the death of a female vampire. Because of that, Orthodox priests have the custom of having a liturgy in the church when the rain seems to last for too long.
There also are acts of witchcraft for stopping the rain, such as to stick an ax in the courtyard in order to "cut it short."
There also are traditions for calling the rain, like that of the so-called "paparude". This custom involves special invocations and dances, and was performed by young maidens and lads, gypsy women and children. Nonetheless, since 1990, this ritual has started to be performed solely by children and has turned into a game, losing its superstitious qualities.
These are but a few superstitions about rainfall believed by this interesting culture. Many more remain unsaid, yet still in practice these days.