Yesterday it was 60 degrees Fahrenheit. Today it is almost 85 degrees. Is this Indian Summer? Nope, not yet.
Traditionally Indian Summer doesn't occur until after the first frost and although we've come close this hasn't occurred yet. It a weather phenomenon that occurs every year between September and mid-November. Several glorious days of warmth and mild temperatures before the cold weather arrives for good-or at least until spring.
Indian Summer first appeared in written context in the late 18th century, which implies of course that it was used in spoken language prior to this. The origin is unclear though and I doubt the term is even used outside the region encompassing New England, the Mid-Atlantic states and points west to Ohio and north to Michigan. Whether it's used in the eastern provinces of Canada I don't know. They may have their own word for it.
My favorite explanation for Indian Summer is that the last of the warmer weather coincides with the time of the final harvest of crops for the year. Another explanation I like is that the Native Americans (Indians) recognized this weather phenomenon and told the colonists about it who then coined the phrase Indian Summer.
Interestingly, a similar weather phenomenon occurs in Europe with each country or region having its own name for it. These days however, the term Indian Summer is also used in the UK. Before the leap across the pond in the early 19th century, the period of warmer weather was simply referred to as St. Martin's Summer for example, when it occurred around the 1st of November (St. Martin's Day) or St Luke's Summer when it occurred near the 18th of October (St. Luke's Day).
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