Where did the phrase Dog Days of Summer come from? Did it come from those long hot summer days when your four-legged best friend tends to lay down, stretch out and be lazy in an effort to cool off? You could argue us humans do the same thing!
Actually, the phrase goes back centuries, from varied stories starting with the ancient Greeks, Egyptians and Romans. The phrase is all tied to the rise of Sirius – by far the brightest star that follows Orion into the night sky. Also called the Dog Star, Sirius rises in the night sky in mid-July and is most prominent during August. Those early civilizations blamed Sirius for the heat of the season, bringing as historians quote – discouraging heat and oppression.
The Dog Star Sirius is 8.7 light years away from Earth and has no impact on our planet’s weather or temperature. Yet, those early civilizations saw the rise of the Dog Star and the hottest weather of the year as a cause and effect.
The phrase Dog Days of Summer has survived the test of time. For example, many businesses and citizens in European countries take long holidays during August. So do many Americans including those in Congress when Washington, DC can be so hot, muggy and oppressive.
Here in the North Sound, our usual warmest stretch of summer is from mid-July to mid-August before we start a slow cooling trend as the days gradually get shorter. Our more moderate temperatures and lower humidity found with our Dog Days of Summer make it the best time to hike trails in the shade of trees, safely enjoy our area waterways, or simply relish the days and evenings with family, friends and neighbors.
August may be called the Dog Days of Summer in many parts of the Northern Hemisphere, but in the North Sound, this period may be the most ideal time of the year.