The ancient origins of the Dog Days of Summer

According to popular folklore: “Dog Days bright and clear Indicate a happy year; But when accompanied by rain, For better times, our hopes are vain.” It sounds good…but what are the Dog Days of summer, exactly? And what do they have to do with dogs? The exact dates of the Dog Days can vary from source to source and probably they have changed over time. However, most sources agree that they occur in mid- to late summer, from July 3 to August 11. This is soon after the Summer Solstice…

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Pleiades: mythology of the Seven Sisters

In Rome and in Greece, in this period, the Pleiades were remembered, and predictions were made on the illnesses of the season. In short, the Pleiades were the seven sisters who, at the time of their death, were transformed into stars from Zeus. After the spring equinox, the ancients were careful not to expose themselves to the unstable climate of the period to avoid the seasonal ills. Since the ascent of the Pleiades coincided with this period, it was common opinion that the constellation was somehow linked to the climate.…

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Harvest Moon: September’s Full Moon

September is the month of the Harvest Moon, sometimes also referred to as the Wine Moon or the Singing Moon. This is the time of year when the last of the crops are being gathered from the fields and stored for the winter. It can occur in either September or October, depending on how the lunar cycle lines up with the Gregorian calendar. There’s a chill in the air, the earth is slowly beginning its winter rest as the sun pulls away from us, and It’s the season when is…

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#February 29, 1504: The crafty Christopher Columbus’ leap year trick

Anyone born on February 29th would not consider themselves lucky. For istance, they have a real birthday only once every four years, when it is a leap year, such this 2019. The list of famous people born on this day is very short and research shows that rapper Ja Rule as possibly the most well known (but who is he?), or american singer Mark Foster. However, leap years are considered by some to be lucky and, according to some superstition, any enterprise started on February 29th is certain to succeed.…

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Charles’ Oak: the lost constellation to honor a King’s escape.

In 1651, after the battle of Worcester, Charles II, who would go on become the king of England, climbed a tree. Nothing strange….the future monarch would later say to have ensconced himself in the branches of the oak in Boscobel Wood, while the troops who fought the Royalists over how England should be governed, passed below. According to the legend, he had to stay there, dead quiet, until his enemies buggered off. His hiding spot, later called the Royal Oak, once the monarchy was restored, was commemorated also on pieces…

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