Dog Days

The dog days of summer are over for this year – at least here in the Northern hemisphere, down south, they will be coming – soonish.

Enjoying the dog days of summer, pic: greensburggreentown.org

The hottest, most sultry days of summer a referred to as the dog days (of summer).  First I was thinking the expression had to do with real dogs, as in the old saying “only Englishmen and mad dogs …” which is a joking reference to the apparent habit of Englishmen to run around during the hottest hours of the day wherever they are, say India, or the Congo or Tunisia.  Mad dogs are apparently share the same pastime.

anyways, it appears that the dog days go further back in time than Englishmen and date back to the Romans, who referred to Sirius as the Dog Star.  The Dog Days originally were the days when Sirius rose jaround sunrise.  This is no longer true, though, be cause of the precession of the equinoxes.  The Romans apparently sacrificed a brown dog at the beginning of the Dog Days to appease the rage of Sirius, believing that the star was the cause of the hot, sultry weather.

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