Has it been hot enough for you? Ask friends about the meaning of the “dog days of summer”, and they will probably respond with something along the lines of “It is when it is too hot and humid in July and August for dogs to be comfortable outside.” Well, you know what? They are wrong.
The expression originated in ancient Greece, Rome, and Egypt and is tied to astronomy. It is when the star, Sirius, appears in mid-to-late summer. The “dog star”, another name for Sirius, is one of the largest stars in the Canis, the big constellation.
In Greece and Rome, the “dog days” meant sweltering days (that could drive men and dogs insane), bad luck, drought, and disease. They were referring to the twenty days before and twenty days after Sirius aligns with the Sun. These days were not only the hottest days of the year but were when bad things happened.
Egypt, in contrast, welcomed the dog days, as that signaled that the annual floods so greatly needed for their crops were on the way.
The Old Farmer’s Almanac considers the Dog Days to be the 40 days beginning July 3 and ending August 11.
Here is how to stay cool in these dog days of summer:
- Dress in light weight and soft colored clothing.
- Stay hydrated.
- Put your feet in cool water if you are not able to swim.
- Keep your neck cool – it is the main body temperature sensor.
We may be complaining about these hot days; however, what is the alternative? Freezing in January? Well, we know those days will be coming sooner than we think. Just live in the moment. Chill, baby, chill.