How to Divine the Weather with a Wishbone

The belief that wishbones had some kind of mystical property dates back to the Etruscan civilization over two thousand years ago.
Using a wishbone to divine the weather

The wishbone, or furcula, has long been a source of superstition, dating back to the Etruscan civilization of ancient Italy. Observing geese migrating with the weather, they came to think of the goose as a visionary creature.

The furcula of a goose eaten in mid-November would be cleaned, dried, and observed for color change to divine the severity of the upcoming winter. The darker the bone turned, the worse the winter was going to be. When the Romans encountered the Etruscan people, they adopted some of these traditions, including rooster and goose-bone divination.

Over the course of hundreds of years, the practice evolved into the modern wishbone-breaking tradition we have today.

What the Colors of a Wishbone Mean

The colors of a dried wishbone were used to predict the harvest and the weather. If you want to divine the kind of winter we are going to have, this is what the colors were believed to mean:

  • Purple, blue or black: It is going to be a cold winter
  • Blue or dark all over: An extremely bad winter is on the way
  • White: It is going to be a mild winter
  • Blue branching out toward the edge of the bone: Open weather until New Year’s Day
  • Purple tips: Spring is going to be cold
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