Indian Summer

It might still be spring at the moment but knowing our British weather, it won’t be long before we’ll all be hoping for an Indian summer, but why should a period of hot weather late after summer be Indian?

The first recorded instance comes from 1778 and it originates in American English but no one is exactly sure how it came about.

One suggestion is that the spell of warm weather was first noted in regions where the Native Americans lived. Another possibility is that it was the Native Americans who first described the phenomenon to the Europeans.

Another explanation is that it has derogatory roots, like Indian giver, referring to something that is false or a poor imitation. This matches up with the European equivalent St. Martin’s summer, which is a warm spell occurring around St. Martin’s Day, the 11th November. Since the ruined church of St. Martin-de-Grand in London was the hotspot for cheap jewellery dealer, St. Martin is also associated with deception and falsehood. Since both explanations give the idea of a false summer, this is probably the most likely origin.

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3 thoughts on “Indian Summer

  1. Interesting selection. Thinking of your possibilities for the origin now makes me wonders where “the dog days of summer” came from. Every post leads in a new direction 🙂

  2. Great suggestions!
    ‘Dog days’ dates back to the 1530s from Greek via Latin ‘dias caniculares’. This is because the period during the rising of the dog star, Sirus, between July 3rd and August 11th is the hottest time of the year.

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