Okay, we agree, it is hot out. Even temperatures at the KEEN HQ here in Portland have stayed in the 80s all week (which is quite warm for our mild Pacific NW climate)! But the heat wave is hardly surprising. We’re in the midst of the “dog days” of summer, the hottest, most sultry, scorching days of the whole year. According to the Old Farmer’s Almanac, the oldest continuously running periodical in North America, the dog days begin on July 3rd and continue until August 11th.
Interestingly, the origin of the name “dog days”, or dies caniculares in Latin, dates back to ancient Rome. In the Northern hemisphere during the months of July and August, the star Sirius rose and set with the sun. Romans believed this star, known as the Dog Star because it was the brightest out of the constellation Canis Major (Large Dog), caused the unbearable heat because of its proximity to the sun. Although we now know that the earth’s tilted axis causes the sizzling summer temperatures, the reference to “dog days” has stuck.