Tracker Pixel for Entry

​The Onion Calendar: A New Year Tradition

Culture | January 20th, 2022

By Sabrina Hornung

sabrina@hpr1.com

Photo by Sabrina Hornung

.The onion calendar is an old German folk tradition that predicts the levels of moisture each month throughout the year using salt, an onion, and a little bit of patience.

According to Ashley North Dakota residents Donna and Delbert (Del) Eszlinger, you take a nice round onion, cut it in half and peel apart the layers. Each layer is indicative of one of the 12 months. You then take a teaspoon of salt and put that in each of the cups between 11 pm and 12 am on New year's eve, then check it at 6 am on New Year’s Day. The amount of moisture in each cup is indicative of how much moisture you can anticipate for each month in the new year.

I decided to make my own onion calendar this year. My initial intent was to compare it to the Eszlingers’ but I was told the location affects the reading. I get it, you can’t predict the moisture levels in McIntosh County if you’re in Fargo.

I even kept one of my onions purchased from the local Hutterites for the occasion, though according to Del, it doesn’t matter where the onion comes from. I plan on noting monthly moisture levels in 2022 to see how accurate our calendar really is. That's the second most ambitious weather-related task I’ve mustered, the first being the onion calendar.

That being said, we had to ask longtime Fargo Meteorologist John Wheeler to weigh in his two cents on the onion calendar after getting the Eszlinger’s reading in 2021.

“I’m not big on folklore forecasting if there’s no physical connection. I can conceive of nothing in onion layers that would connect to weather by month, unless it’s magic and I’ve never seen evidence of magic.” Wheeler went on to say, “Long range weather prediction by science is not very good for many reasons. Scientific knowledge is often incomplete and I’m okay with that. I’ll always prefer the best available empirical evidence to blind faith.”

He suggested testing the onion calendar method using several onions. Even different kinds of onions to see if the onions yield different results.

According to my onion in Fargo, January was very wet, perhaps indicative of more snow. February wasn’t quite as wet but still had a fair amount of moisture. March was drier but the salt still indicated that there were trace amounts of moisture, as did May. June was bone dry and July and August had trace amounts of moisture. September was dry and October was running over with condensation. Does this mean torrential rains? A flood? A gnarly blizzard? November and December were also dry.

There are a number of folk traditions surrounding weather lore that were used in antiquity. For example, a ring around the moon can be indicative of snow or rainfall to come. There was one gentleman from Pingree who would butcher a hog and examine its entrails in an attempt to figure out the severity of the winter. Deer hunters have been known to invest some level of belief in this. The farmer’s almanac cited instances of folks examining the thickness of onion skins.

Placement of muskrat huts on area sloughs plays into folkloric winter weather prediction as well.

Meteorologists have a tough time predicting weather patterns, onions and entrails too. Only time will tell if the onion reads properly this year.

Recently in:

By Olivia Slyteroslyter.g@cord.eduPhotos by Sabrina HornungFor months, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) has been asking the heavy question “Should the 1973 ruling of Roe v. Wade be overturned?” On May 2nd,…

MayKenny Wayne Shepherd KWS creates genre-defining rock n' roll.Fargo Theatre, Sunday, May 1,…

Thursday, May 26, 5-7 pm, on view May 26-July 7   Spirit Room Gallery, 111 Broadway N, FargoDennis Terhak attended Moorhead State College after serving four years in the Marine Corps. He spent 25 years wielding a brush, working as…

By Sabrina Hornungsabrina@hpr1.comOur opinion: It’s not a matter of pro-life or pro-choice, it’s anti-womanI hate to admit it, but aside from the Women’s March in 2017, I hadn’t attended a rally or a march since the Bush…

By Ed Raymondfargogadfly@gmail.com If You Want a Free University Education, Why Not Go to Europe?Why are President Joe Biden and the White House in some kind of sleep mode? Very little is getting done! We can’t afford to go back…

Well shiver me timbers. After weeks of sampling some of the finest drinks in F-M from more bars than we could shake a belaying pin at, the results of High Plains Reader’s 6th Annual Cocktail Showdown are in! For nine weeks,…

By Rick Gionrickgion@gmail.comPhoto by Rick GionAs you may have read, the Hotel Donaldson and the Hodo Lounge are transitioning to the ownership group that runs the Blarney Stone Irish Pubs in North Dakota. Although feelings seem…

By Michael Str!ke  michaelstrike.solo@gmail.comThe word noise can mean so many different things. But here in Fargo, our Noise scene is thriving as what many…

By Greg Carlsongregcarlson1@gmail.com Novelist/screenwriter/director Alex Garland has earned a sizable and devoted following over the years. His previous two feature directorial efforts, “Ex Machina” and “Annihilation,”…

By Sabrina Hornungsabrina@hpr1.comArtwork: Woodcut by Danielle Gravon titled "Allegory of Fargo Winter I"On June 18, the Rourke will be holding their 62nd annual Midwestern Preview, the date celebrating the opening anniversary of…

By Kris Gruberperriex1@gmail.comDrag shows, for me, feel like a celebration of artistry, esthetic, music, and camaraderie. With a dash of confetti thrown in.The local drag community is a close-knit family. Giving back to affiliated…

By Sabrina Hornungsabrina@hpr1.comCharlie Berens is a man of many hats. The creator of the “Manitowoc Minute” is a newsman, comedian, writer and musician. We had the opportunity to speak with the Wisconsin native about his new…

By Kris Gruberperriex1@gmail.comSpring is here (mostly), and our area is buzzing with people eager to get back out and about -- many newly vaccinated and feeling a bit safer. Partnering with Jade Events, Fargo Brewing is just…

by Laurie J Bakeremsdatter@gmail.com Part of modern yoga is participating in the world around us. We live in a time of upheaval in society and nature, and of great suffering in humans of all ages. Most of us perceive this suffering…

By Sabrina Hornungsabrina@hpr1.comLehr Mayor and Council Members Donate City Salaries To Save Legion HallEvery rural community has at least one social space that holds multiple generations of memories and has remained a social…

Hukun provided his responses via email. “I live in downtown Fargo. Downtown living makes everything accessible and convenient! I love taking my kids to Lindenwood, and enjoy the food at Rugsan on 13th Avenue. I also like shopping…