Many small meteorological phenomena can amaze you with their beauty but also mark the beginning of a different period. The occurrence known as Indian summer is one of them since it occurs in the fall and often indicates that the winter is near.
By reading on, you can learn everything about what is an Indian summer, what temperatures you can experience, where does the name comes from, and if the term is politically correct or not. Remember that you can share the information with your friends and family so they also understand the exciting phenomenon!
What Is an Indian Summer?
Have you ever experienced warm temperatures during the autumn? That’s often known as an Indian summer. It’s a natural phenomenon where you experience heat even though it’s fall. At the same time, there are also several criteria to define it:
- It has to be warm
- The atmosphere needs to be hazy
- There is little to no wind
- The nights are chilly and completely clear
- There is a mass of air that becomes an anticyclone and generates the pressure swing between daytime and nighttime
- The warm days occur right before a frost and before the first snowfall
- It happens between St. Martin’s Day (November 11) and November 20
Experiencing an Indian summer is one of the most pleasant things for many people. It’s a meteorological occurrence that has been studied for hundreds of years, and it’s often the sign that sweater weather is approaching.
Indian Summer Temperatures
Although many experts have studied the Indian summer, there are no specific temperatures that characterize it. Instead, what defines it is the presence of warmth after a cold night, usually without wind.
The changes in the temperature provoke physical differences in many other things as well, and the most popular example is the color of the leaves. During the Indian summer, tree leaves go from being green to yellow, brown, and eventually red.
Although the leaves’ color changes often occur in North American forests, you can also witness it in Northern Europe. After the trees change, they lose their leaves and that often indicates the end of the period and the start of the winter.
Why Is It Called the ‘Indian Summer’ and Where Does It Come From?
In Europe, the meteorological phenomenon is called the “Old Wives” or “St. Martin’s” summer. However, in America, the name and its origins are different.
Several theories explain the origin of the name. For example, some believe that it was due to the Europeans settling in New England since they would welcome the cold weather each year and leave their stockades unarmed. However, once it was warm again, they would keep having issues with the settlers.
Another theory involves Native Americans using the weather to gather one last round of supplies before the cold set in.
Even though the exact origin is unknown, undoubtedly, the phrase “Indian summer” started in the United States, and its first recorded usage goes back to the 19th Century.
Is It Politically Incorrect to Use ‘Indian Summer’ to Describe the Weather?
The term “Indian summer” is not inherently offensive, but the Native American community has specific thoughts regarding its usage.
Despite the fact that they understand that the term has been used for hundreds of years, they believe that the usage is still very dangerous. Saying “Indian summer” includes the term in a vast dictionary of words associated with Native Americans, and many of them include nature.
In other words, for many Native Americans, although the term is not offensive by itself, it reinforces the idea that their population is directly related to nature. Therefore, it has become a part of a large body of culturally offensive euphemisms.
On the other hand, some non-native Americans believe that they use the term to describe the beautiful colors and weather that occur at that time of the year. Even so, without knowing, they might offend people who don’t wish to be associated with nature that way.
Consequently, the term “Indian summer” has been rejected by many native Americans, resulting in it being politically incorrect and culturally inaccurate.
Share the guide with your friends and family so they also know about the “Indian summer.” That way, they can be as amazed as you!