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Worksheet: Farmers rules

Sheet 3: Historical Background



The Holy Seven Sleepers (painting, 19th century, South Germany, Clemens-Sels-Museum, Neuss), author: Dr.theol. Manfred Becker-Huberti, Köln, image source:


The saints behind the prediction

You know that the farmer’s almanach goes back to ancient times.

5000 years ago the Egyptians had such rules, the Romans knew some, and Christianity connected the rules with their calendar.

Thereby the rules became attributed to the name days of saints. Our summer prediction of June 27th is connected with the “Seven Sleepers’ Saints”.


If it rains at Seven Sleepers Day, the rain will stay seven weeks more.

And this is their story:

When the Roman emperor Decius (who reigned from 249-251) wanted the population of Ephesus to worship the old Gods in the temple, seven young christians tried to hide in a cave ouside the town, but unfortunately were betrayed. Their cave was cemented by the emperor’s men.

Nearly 200 years later a shepherd incidentally opened the cave, and like a miracle the seven men woke up and walked away. The emperor of that time was christian and accepted the miracle. Strangely enough, also the Koran reports this legend. But we notice: They had nothing to do with weather, prediction and the like. But the weather rule is linked since then to their day in the calender.



The calender

The weather rule has been applied since the early Middle Ages.

Long before Pope Gregory XIII changed the calender in 1582.

He cut out 10 days in that year because one had noticed that the solar year did no longer correspond with the calender.


This book from 1582 rules our calendar still today: The Gregorian Calender, author: Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt e.V. (DLR)


About this page:

- Author: Dr. Schrettenbrunner - University of Nürnberg - Germany
- scientific reviewing:
- educational reviewing: Dr. Yvonne Schleicher , Julia Heres
- last update: 08.09.03




last updated 09.07.2005 17:48:07 | © ESPERE-ENC 2003 - 2013