The dog days of summer……
I posted this on http://www.paperkissesandinkywishes.com/ but thought I would post it here also in case you missed it. I love finding out the origins of old sayings and such, so I hope you do not mind indulging me.
The dog days of summer is a phrase I have heard many,many times and I wanted to find out what it actually meant. I worked a little research time into my schedule and thought you might like to know what I found
The “dog days of summer” occur during the hottest and muggiest part of the season — no surprise there, right? Webster defines “dog days” as…
1 : the period between early July and early September when the hot sultry weather of summer usually occurs in the northern hemisphere.
2 : a period of stagnation or inactivity.
But where does the term come from? Why do we call the hot, sultry days of summer “dog days?”
In ancient times, when the night sky was unobscured by artificial lights and smog, different groups of peoples in different parts of the world drew images in the sky by “connecting the dots” of stars. The images drawn were dependent upon the culture: The Chinese saw different images than the Native Americans, who saw different pictures than the Europeans. These star pictures are now called constellations, and the constellations that are now mapped out in the sky come from our European ancestors.
They saw images of bears, (Ursa Major and Ursa Minor), twins, (Gemini), a bull, (Taurus), and others, including dogs, (Canis Major and Canis Minor). The brightest of the stars in Canis Major (the big dog) is Sirius, which also happens to be the brightest star in the night sky. In fact, it is so bright that the ancient Romans thought that the earth received heat from it. In the summer, however, Sirius, the “dog star,” rises and sets with the sun. During late July Sirius is in conjunction with the sun, and the ancients believed that its heat added to the heat of the sun, creating a stretch of hot and sultry weather. They named this period of time, from 20 days before the conjunction to 20 days after, “dog days” after the dog star.
So the earth isn’t flat and Sirius doesn’t provide any heat to our planet; but we still use the saying “the dog days of summer”. Interesting, huh? Where did the term “Indian summer” come from? I’m gonna find out and I will share.
Until next time…………Have a great week and thanks so much for stopping by.