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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 19 September 2018

Old Emirati calendar signals end of the hottest season

Stargazers predict cooler temperatures from next week

One of the most important dates on the old Drour calendar is next week.

The centuries-old Emirati method of forecasting the seasons can be used to mark the arriving of cooler months at this time of year.

Believed to have been used for 500 years by the tribes people of the Arabian Gulf, it was well known among Emiratis and Gulf nationals, though knowledge of it has declined in recent decades.

The rising of the star Suhail on August 22 signals the end of the pearl diving season and the start of more moderate weather.

The arrival of the astronomy centre next month and further plans for a stargazing resort next year will, it is hoped, bring a renewed interest in such methods.

It was used by mariners and farmers for more than 500 years, though climate change has altered what was once seen as the most reliable tool, one expert said.

“People say Drour is no longer working for us,” said Hasan Al Hariri, chief executive of the Dubai Astronomy Group.

“Winter is more moderate than it used to be. Now in summer, we are seeing extreme temperatures.

“Global warming doesn’t mean we should do nothing or do everything, just be more friendly to the environment.”

The 356-day Drour calendar measures the year in 10-day cycles.

A colourful chart connects the visibility of certain stars with the months and seasons. There is autumn, winter, summer (no spring) and 'extreme hot weather'.

“We have an amazing, amazing calendar, which really covers the life of the people with the stars,” said Mr Al Hariri. “It was so simple and so beautiful and so easy and so easy for them to see the sky. So why we need to count the days? Why we need a calendar? To value our time.

“Ancient people realised that and they built their civilisations based on time. With time and time management they progressed to the future. They made amazing efforts to measure the time and make their life valuable.”

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