(Picture links to astronomical Dog Days)
According to information posted on Wikipedia, the phrase dog days refers to the sultry days of summer. In the Northern Hemisphere, the dog days of summer are most commonly experienced in the months of July and August, which typically observe the warmest summer temperatures. In the Southern Hemisphere, they typically occur in January and February, in the midst of the austral summer.
The Dog Days originally were the days when Sirius rose just before or at the same time as the sun (heliacal rising), which is no longer true, owing to precession of the equinoxes. The Romans sacrificed a red dog in April to appease the rage of Sirius, believing that the star was the cause of the hot, sultry weather.
In Ancient Rome, the Dog Days ran from July 24th through August 24th, or, alternatively, from July 23 through August 23rd. In many European cultures (German, French, Italian) this period is still said to be the time of the Dog Days.
The Old Farmer’s Almanac lists the traditional period of the Dog Days as the 40 days beginning July 3rd and ending August 11th, coinciding with the ancient heliacal (at sunrise) rising of the Dog Star, Sirius.
Wow, thanks Wikipedia!
Regardless of when you experience them, there is no way to avoid the hot, thick, and sticky days that are unpleasant for adults and reminders to children that another school term is just around the corner. Here in Florida, many of us hide in the air conditioned comfort of our homes to escape the heat and humidity associated with a typical summer day, and dream of the cooler and drier weather to come in the fall.
Perhaps our canine friends have the right idea regarding how to spend the Dog Days of Summer?