The Dog Days of Summer
Hot enough for you? Enjoying the dog days of summer?
The “dog days of summer” are the hottest, sultriest, most unsettled days of summer. The name comes from the timing of the heat, which follows the rising of the “dog star” Sirius, the brightest star in our sky (next to the Sun), and one of the stars forming the constellation Canis Major.
Ancients believed that the combined heat of Sirius and the Sun was responsible for the stifling heat and unsettled weather. This lead to a corresponding period of lethargy
The term dates back as far as the ancient Greeks. Homer’s Iliad makes reference to them. There is also reference to dog days and the effect of Sirius in ancient Egyptian and Roman cultures. In Egypt, Sirius appeared just before the flooding of the Nile.
The term is also sometimes used to refer to the lethargic summer stock markets, as trading is quietest in July.
According to The Old Farmer’s Almanac, the dog days of summer are traditionally the 40 days beginning on July 3 and ending August 11.
The “dog days” factor in the familiar phrase “make hay while the Sun shines”. As published in the 1817 The Old Farmer’s Almanac, “Dog Days are approaching; you must, therefore, make both hay and haste while the Sun shines, for when old Sirius takes command of the weather, he is such an unsteady, crazy dog, there is no dependence upon him.”
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