Question: How did “dog days of summer” get its name?

a.     Named after the Greek God, Canidae, God of Sun and Light

b.      Named after the astrological constellation Siruis, or “Dog Star”

c.      Named after a symptom of heat stroke, which causes humans to pant, similar to that of a dog

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If you guessed “B”, you are correct!

The term “dog days”, often used to describe the hottest days of summer (between July and September in the Northern Hemisphere and January and March in the Southern Hemisphere), stems from the ancient belief that Sirius, or Dog Star, is responsible for the hot, stagnant weather.

The Romans believed Sirius, the brightest star in the Canis Major (Large Dog) constellation, controlled the heat of summer because of its brightness and close proximity to the sun.  Since heat was associated with wine turning sour, dogs turning mad, and man burning with fever, the Romans sacrificed a brown dog at the beginning of the “dog days” season in order to calm the tyranny of “Sirius.” Seems a little far-fetched to us.

Apparently, the Romans never discovered the joys of swimming with a canine companion in the heat of summer!

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