How to Use an Almanac

In my life, I am often looking for ways to reconnect with the history of my family and humanity in general.  This has become a real challenge in recent years, especially now as technology seems to rule most of the world.  Personally, I will always prefer the feeling of a book in my hand to looking at the digitally. For me, this applies to calendars and almanacs as well.  I would even argue that there is a certain art to almanacs in particular, which is why I am dedicating this entire article to them.  The story of how they originated is downright fascinating.  If you are curious about them and would like to know more, then this is certainly the post for you.

The Origins

This may not seem entirely relevant, but I want to cover it because I think it does play into how we can use these calendars.  The first one ever created was printed way back in the fifteenth century.  That is the 1400s!  So, it coincides fairly closely with the invention of the printing press in 1436, which certainly makes sense. The purpose of it was to track weather patterns throughout the entire year, mostly so that farmers could have an accurate record and start to predict for the future.  It also included some of the astrological occurrences that humanity was starting to take much more interest in.  So, it was a very useful tool for many during this period.

That being said, they did not quite explode in popularity just yet.  Rather, it would not be until Benjamin Franklin started to create his own that more people jumped on the bandwagon and found them to be more “fashionable.”  If you know anything about this founding father, though, it probably does not surprise you that he is the one that popularized it. On top of useful information, though, another important facet of almanacs was that they provided some entertainment value.  Sure, it might not be in the way that we think of it today (it certainly is not like a television show or a movie), but it was still sought after by many people for centuries. That is because reading material was sometimes scarce.  So, reading facts or records that were taken from around the country and the world could be quite fun!  Honestly, I still think it is rather entertaining, but that might just be me.

Why They Matter

So – we have covered how almanacs started.  Why are they important now, though?  Surely, we have more advanced ways to track weather patterns, right?  It might surprise you to learn that there are still plenty of these books and calendars made each year. They are still a valuable resource for tracking weather patterns.  You can see some examples here,, although there are some other styles out there as well if you would prefer.

Now, if you are not a farmer, it might not seem like a big deal.  However, the weather should matter for everyone – at least in my opinion.  It is extra true for regions that have extreme weather patterns such as tornadoes, hurricanes, typhoons, or tsunamis.  Even heavy rains or long droughts can cause significant disruptions for us. So, paying attention to global patterns can be one way to help us prepare for it.  Obviously, sometimes things change.  An almanac is not a one hundred percent accurate way to predict the future.  However, they allow us to make educated guesses on what might happen in the upcoming year. This can allow governments to upgrade infrastructure for flooding or tornado prevention and/or shelters, as just one example.  It might not always happen that way, but at least the information is out there for us.

How Can Ordinary People Use Them, though?

This is the question that I set out to answer with this article, so let us dive right into it.  I used resources like this one during my research, so it might assist you as well if you would like to check out some other articles on it.  Otherwise, I am more than happy to explain myself. The primary way that we can utilize them is to access important information at our fingertips.  I know that many argue the internet works this way, but to some extent, I find it is best not to trust everything that we read out there.  False information is very easy to spread.

It might seem like a waste to buy an almanac each year but hear me out.  They are a nice way to see up-to-date information on things like country flags and capitals.  Sometimes, these do change yearly, and we do not even realize it! That is part of what I like so much about these calendars.  They can help us to learn information that we never would have looked for otherwise.  You do not have to know the country names by heart to find out their flag or where they are, for example. Almanacs can be something fun to browse when you are feeling bored, too.
They offer some interesting astrological records too, which should enthuse any astronomy and astrology enjoyers!  It might seem boring to some, but do not knock it until you try it!

Now, there are a few different types of almanacs out there, so if you do decide to purchase one, make sure you select a category of information that interests you.  Some of them contain things like world records or comparisons of different geographical features like rivers and mountains, so that is something to keep in mind. There is also just a certain something to be said about having a paper calendar.  I find they let me stay more organized, but that might just be my own bias against using digital ones.  I learn and retain information by writing, so anyone else who shares that experience might find value in what I have had to share today.  Even if not, hopefully, you learned something new at least!

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