What Is an “Almanac”, How Did the Almanac Originate, and What Does Almanac Mean in Arabic?

An almanac is an annual publication forecasting weather and providing other miscellaneous information relative to a calendar year.

The earliest almanacs were largely preoccupied with astronomical and astrological information as well as dates for feasts and festivals.

The seventeenth century saw almanacs begin to broaden their scope to include stories, poems, remedies, statistics, and jokes.

Well-known almanacs include the Farmer’s Almanac, which started publication in 1793, and The World Almanac and Book of Facts. Poor Richard’s Almanac, produced by Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790) in the eighteenth century, is a fixture in English literature.

The word almanac came into English from Arabic through Spain in the fourteenth century as al-manakh, meaning “calendar.”