Summer takes a long time to reach the East Coast, so I always hesitate to complain about the heat when it finally arrives.
As much as I love winter and snow, I also enjoy the three Hs: hot, hazy and humid. The oppressive heat and humidity that some of us experienced earlier this week has moved out, but it didn’t take long for the mercury to shoot up again. Inland temperatures are in the upper 20s with feel-like temperatures in the mid-30s. Well, it is July after all and these are the “dog days of summer”!
I’m sure you’ve heard the expression, but what does it mean? The phrase “dog days” refers to the hottest, most sultry days of summer. The phrase has been used around the world for a very long time. Ancient Romans believed the “dog days” to be the 40 days beginning July 3 and ending Aug. 11.
The term was also used by the Greeks, who called these days “caniculares dies” or days of the dogs, after Sirius, the "Dog Star" - Canicula, in Latin. Sirius is the brightest star in the heavens besides the sun. The dog days originally were the days when Sirius, the Dog Star, rose at about the same time as the sun. The star was so bright that people believed it gave off heat and that heat, combined with heat from the sun, triggered a heat wave.
Dog days were popularly believed to be an evil time, "when the seas boiled, wine turned sour and dogs grew mad.” With modern ways to keep cool, I don’t think we should consider this weather “evil.”
Having said that, I do recommend you keep an eye on your wine and your four-legged friends.
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Cindy Day is the chief meteorologist for SaltWire Network.