Indian summers today
Even in today’s climate, Indian summers in October still occur, albeit not to the extent seen in the first few decades of the 20th century. In the climate period of 1991–2020, the 13th, 22nd, 25th, 26th and 27th October stand out as having a greater frequency of fair weather. On the other hand, what was once typically a fair weather period in the middle of October is no longer seen in the analysis of the 1991–2020 climate period.
Origin of the name “Altweibersommer”
The origin of the German term for an Indian summer – “Altweibersommer” (sometimes translated as old wives’ summer) – is not discussed in the literature. According to Lutz Röhrich’s dictionary of proverbial idioms, the term comes from the spider threads that are seen floating in the air in autumn. In Old German, “weiben” meant to weave, with reference to spider webs. According to popular belief, these cobwebs were also thought to be the webs of elves, dwarves and other mythological figures. According to the Duden dictionary, the term “old” is understood to mean “late”. The Altweibersommer is therefore late summer or post-summer.