Tuesday, July 14, 2009

july 14-16, "three dog night"

This new series is part of the “piece a day” project, but is called “the dog days of summer”. There is a layered meaning to this project. Firstly, it comes from the passing of my dog, Ziggy. A friend told me that she heard about the origin of “the dog days of summer”…and the dog star, etc. This led me to investigate the origin of the term which I’ve included in this description. The name
The term "Dog Days" was used by the Greeks as well as the ancient Romans (who called these days caniculares dies (days of the dogs)) after Sirius (the "Dog Star", in Latin Canicula), the brightest star in the heavens besides the Sun. The dog days of summer are also called canicular days.
The Dog Days originally were the days when Sirius, the Dog Star, rose just before or at the same time as sunrise (heliacal rising), which is no longer true, owing to precession of the equinoxes. The ancients sacrificed a brown dog at the beginning of the Dog Days to appease the rage of Sirius, believing that the star was the cause of the hot, sultry weather.
In Ancient Rome, the Dog Days extended from July 24 through August 24 (or, alternatively July 23-August 23). In many European cultures (German, French, Italian) this is still the period to be the time of the Dog Days.
The Old Farmer's Almanac lists the traditional timing of the Dog Days as the 40 days beginning July 3 and ending August 11, coinciding with the ancient heliacal (at sunrise) rising of the Dog Star, Sirius. These are the days of the year when rainfall is at its lowest levels.

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