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Why Do We call Them the Dog Days of Summer?

We’ve all heard the expression “the dog days of summer”. We immediately think of hot, sticky days when the neighborhood dogs lie around panting, too hot to move. But where did the expression come from? You might be surprised to know that the phrase wasn’t originally about the heat, it was about the stars.

 

For the ancient Greeks and Romans, the ‘dog days’ occurred when the star Sirius – the nose star in the constellation of Canis Major – rose before the sun in late July and is the brightest star in the sky. While this would often correspond with the hottest days of the year, it didn’t always. However, the rising of Sirius before dawn was frequently a time of illness, primarily fevers, war, and possible catastrophe. Even Homer in The Iliad mentions Sirius as Orion’s dog rising during the Trojan War and as coming “…in the autumn and whose conspicuous brightness far outshines the stars that are numbered in the night's darkening…”

 

Regardless of its origins, we can have some fun with the ‘dog days’. At Hilton Head Lakes you can enjoy the fun of the ‘dog days’ at the Dog Days of Summer Sunset Party on August 19th at Oyster Factory Park with live music, an arts and crafts village, and a food court celebrating local food. The event is pet and kid friendly with a portion of the proceeds benefitting the Palmetto Animal League.

 

Although the early days of August might not be the hottest and most of us have no idea when the dog star rises or any desire to be up before dawn looking for that wayward celestial puppy, we still embrace the expression - whether we spend those ‘dog days’ at festivals, star gazing, or sitting on the porch with our favorite pooch.

 

Hilton Head Lakes is a debt free community in South Carolina, and one of the best places to retire. It’s the perfect balance between gated community and world-class resort. With the addition of Realstar Builders, we’re creating homes that are built to last. Schedule a Discovery Visit today and experience Hilton Head Lakes for yourself.

 

References:

National Geographic

Bluffton.com

Time Magazine

Theoi Greek Mythology

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