Tag Archives: Summer Holidays

Dog Days of Summer

Adventure Dogs 2020 wall calendar

Images from our Adventure Dogs 2020 wall calendar: Hiking, Camping, and Traveling with Courageous Canines. Click for more info.

The long, hot days of summer are rising before us and bring many opportunities for adventures with our courageous canine companions. But why do some call this period the dog days of summer? Well, as with many things, we have the Greeks to thank. But let’s look at the timing of the days first.

Various computations of the dog days in the northern hemisphere have placed their start anywhere from July 3 to August 15 and lasting for anywhere from 30 to 61 days depending upon latitude.

To understand more about the origins of the name, here’s an excerpt from a wonderful post by Becky Little from National Geographic:

The “dog days,” I always thought, were those summer days so devastatingly hot that even dogs would lie around panting.

Many people today use the phrase to mean something like that—but originally, the phrase actually had nothing to do with dogs, or even with the lazy days of summer. Instead, it turns out, the dog days refer to the dog star, Sirius, and its position in the heavens.

To the Greeks and Romans, the “dog days” occurred around the day when Sirius appeared to rise just before the sun, in late July. They referred to these days as the hottest time of the year.

So, did the Greeks get it right? Are the dog days, around when Sirius rises, really the hottest days of the year? Continue reading

Assumption — Honoring the Virgin Mary

Image from our Herb Gardens 2017 wall calendar. Photograph © Laura Berman. Click image for more info.

Image from our Herb Gardens 2017 wall calendar. Photograph © Laura Berman. Click image for more info.

Very early on, the Catholic Church chose August 15 (which would be the full moon of August if the new moon fell—as it did when the months were lunar—on the first of the month) to honor the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. It was proclaimed a holiday throughout the Roman Empire by Emperor Maurice around 600 in the East, and about 50 years later in the West.

This Catholic holiday replaced an earlier celebration that took place in Greece on the full moon of August in honor of Artemis and Hecate, which the Romans gave a fixed place in the solar calendar on August 13. It was known in Rome as Diana’s Feast of Torches. Continue reading

Fortuna: Goddess of Good Fortune

Image from our Bee Happy 2017 wall calendar. Photograph © DrRave. Click image for more info.

Image from our Bee Happy 2017 wall calendar. Photograph © DrRave. Click image for more info.

The ancient Romans celebrated Fortuna, the goddess of good fortune, on June 24. In The Book of Goddesses and Heroines, Patricia Monaghan comments that Fortuna meant not merely “luck,” but the principle that drives men and women to mate, an irresistible “Fors.” Fortuna was the goddess of the fertilization of humans, animals, and plants, and thus was especially worshipped by gardeners and by women wanting to become pregnant. As Fortuna Virilis, she made women irresistible to men. It was perhaps on this day that Roman women invaded men’s public baths. Continue reading