Stars and seasons

Malcolm Mintz

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference paperChapterpeer-review


The planets moved erratically across the sky compared with the more fixed positions of the stars. Venus is the planet with could be most easily identified, and a discussion of this planet forms the heart of the first part of Section 1. The second part looks briefly at comets and meteors and the attempt made to distinguish between the two by the early lexicographers. In the third part are the constellations. These were given names, identifying groupings familiar to those in the west, and others which are completely new and possibly unknown. The names given to these arrangements of stars often vary from one language to another, giving rise to difficulties in arriving at a definitive identification. Terms for the earth and sky are presented in the fourth part, and in the fifth, the sun and moon. Discussed in some detail are the phases of the moon and the explanation presented when it falls into eclipse. Also included are the primary directions of east and west, determined by the rising and setting of the sun, moon and stars.

In Section 2 is a discussion of the tides, their rise and fall and the land they periodically cover and uncover as they move. Terms for the weather are presented in Section 3, mentioning a change in reference from the old to the modern language. This is followed by a longer section on the winds.

The winds bring the rain which determine the change in season. The directions from which they blow also give their names to the cardinal points of the compass. There is general agreement among the languages on these cardinal directions, but a greater difference occurs when it comes to the finer distinctions referred to as ordinals. The second part of Section 4 looks at the wind-borne storms, from the devastating typhoons to the more local tornados and whirlwinds. Also included here are the effects of the unforgiving winds on trees, crops and infrastructure.

The clouds is the topic of Section 5, looking at different densities and the relationship to mist, fog and dew. The final Section, 6, is rain. This includes rain carried on the prevailing winds blowing from the southwest as well as the northeast and locally formed thunder storms which produce sharp, heavy downpours which run in streams from the roofs of houses. Finally there is the lighter rain or drizzle which may signal the ending of the wet and the move again to a period of relative dry.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationIntersections: Gender and Sexuality in Asia and the Pacific
Subtitle of host publicationMonograph 1: The Philippines at the Turn of the Sixteenth Century: with particular reference to the Bikol region
EditorsCarolyn Brewer
Place of PublicationAustralia
ISBN (Electronic)9780646568195
Publication statusPublished - 23 Feb 2017


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