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April - Trivia & Fun Facts

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April Trivia


Now You (Might) Know...

Birthstone: Diamond
Flower: Daisy or Sweet Pea

Aries (March 21 - April 20)
Taurus (April 21 - May 20)

More April lore here

It is likely that the Roman Goddess of Love 'Aprilis' was honoured when naming the month of April, but historians aren't totally sure of that factoid.

"It's spring fever. That is what the name of it is. And when you've got it, you want - oh, you don't quite know what it is you do want, but it just fairly makes your heart ache, you want it so!"
- Mark Twain

About April

April's Moons:
Ashes Moon, Awakening Moon, Big Spring Moon, Big Summer Moon, Black Oaks Tassel Moon, Broken Snowshoe Moon, Budding Time Moon, Budding Trees Moon, Bullhead Moon, Cherry Blossom Moon, Daisy Moon, Moon, Egg Moon, Moon, Fish Moon, Flower Moon, Frog Moon, Glittering Snow on Lake Moon, Grass Moon, Gray Goose Moon, Great Sand Storm Moon, Green Grass Moon,, Growing Moon, Half Spring Moon, Hare Moon, Ice Breaking in the River Moon, Leaf Split Moon, Loon Moon, Maple Moon, Maple Sugar Moon, Maple Sap Boiling Moon, Moon of Greening Grass, Moon of Red Grass Appearing, Moon of the Big Leaves, Moon of the Red Grass Appearing, Moon of Windbreak, Moon When Geese Return in Scattered Formation, Moon When Nothing Happens, Moon When the Geese Lay Eggs, Moon When They Set Indian Corn, Peony Moon, Pink Moon, Planter's Moon, Planting Corn Moon, Planting Moon, Poinciana Moon, Red Grass Appearing Moon, Ring Finger Moon, Snowshoe Breaking Moon, Spring Moon, Sprouting Grass Moon, Strawberry Moon, Strong Moon, Sugar Maker Moon, Summer Moon, Sweet Pea Moon, Tulip Moon, White Lady Moon, Wildcat Moon, Willow Moon, Wind Moon, Wisteria Moon and Yellow Moon.

April was formerly the second month in the ancient Roman year, when March began the calendar. The “real” origin of its name has been lost. The most common theory is that Aprilis is derived from the Latin verb Aperire, “to open”, as the opening, or blossoming, of trees and flowers.

Since the Romans often named months for gods (and goddesses), and since April was sacred to Venus, the Roman goddess of love, her festival was held on the first day of Aprilis. Is possible that Aprilis was originally called Aphrilis, a Latin name which comes from Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of lnus?

Fordicidia, the Feast of the Cows on April 15, when ancient rites were conducted to ensure the prosperity of crops. A cow pregnant with calf was sacrificed, and attendants of the vestal virgins then took the calf from its mother to burn it. Its ashes, gathered up by the vestals, were used a few days later at the Parilia. The Parilia was the annual Roman festival of flocks and herds, celebrated on April 21 in honor of Pales, the pastoral deity (god or goddess) and special protector of cattle. T

he Parilia, essentially a pastoral, or agricultural rite, is believed to have originated long before the founding of the city of Rome (753 B.C.). Romulus, the legendary “founder of Rome”, is thought to have played a significant role in conducting the cleansing and renewal rituals of the Parilia.

April 21 (XI days to Maius Calends) was set aside to commemorate not only Pales, but also the founding of Rome. A public holiday known as the Natalis urbis Romae (birthday of the city of Rome), was also a day which was marked by music, street dancing, and general revelry.

The Romans gave this month the Latin name Aprilis but the derivation of this name is uncertain. The traditional etymology is from the verb aperire, "to open," in allusion to its being the season when trees and flowers begin to "open," which is supported by comparison with the modern Greek use of anoixis (opening) for spring.

Since some of the Roman months were named in honor of divinities, and as April was sacred to the goddess Venus, her Veneralia being held on the first day, it has been suggested that Aprilis was originally her month Aphrilis, from her equivalent Greek goddess name Aphrodite (Aphros), or from the Etruscan name Apru.

April was the second month of the earliest Roman calendar, before Ianuarius and Februarius were added by King Numa Pompilius about 700 BC. It became the fourth month of the calendar year (the year when twelve months are displayed in order) during the time of the decemvirs about 450 BC, when it also was given 29 days. The 30th day was added during the reform of the calendar undertaken by Julius Caesar in the mid-40s BC, which produced the Julian calendar.

The Anglo-Saxons called April Oster-monath or Eostur-monath. The Venerable Bede says in The Reckoning of Time that this month Eostur is the root of the word Easter. He further states that the month was named after a goddess Eostre whose feast was in that month. It is also attested by Einhard in his work, Vita Karoli Magni.

In Roman mythology, Flora was a goddess of flowers and the season of spring. While she was otherwise a relatively minor figure in Roman mythology, being one among several fertility goddesses, her association with the spring gave her particular importance at the coming of springtime. Her festival, the Floralia, was held in April or early May and symbolized the renewal of the cycle of life, marked with dancing, drinking, and flowers.

Her Greek equivalent was Chloris. Flora was married to Favonius, the wind god, and her companion was Hercules. Due to her association with plants, her name in modern English also means plant life. Flora achieved more prominence in the neo-pagan revival of Antiquity among Renaissance humanists than she had ever enjoyed in ancient Rome.

The festival of Floralia began around the year 258 BCE. Pagan Romans celebrated for six days, from April 27th to May 3rd, honouring their Goddess of Spring and of Flowers, Flora. Flora, known as Chloris to the Greeks, was a beautiful and serene Goddess, the Queen of Spring. She was married to Zephyrus, the west wind, and her temple is in Aventine. Floralia was a time a great merriment and rejoicing in ancient Rome.

During the festival, Romans would cast off their habitual white robes for more colourful garments, especially green ones. They would also deck themselves and everything around them in flowers then engage in all sorts of activities. There would be feasting, singing, dancing, and gaming. Offerings of milk and honey were made to the goddess Flora. Goats and hares meant to symbolize fertility were let loose in gardens and fields as protectors in Flora's honour.

Singing filled the air and dancers stomped the ground to awaken nature and bring it back to life. Ancient roman prostitutes in particular enjoyed this festival as they considered Flora their patron goddess. So Floralia was especially important to them. They participated in many events, from performing naked in the theatre to gladiatorial feats.

With the occupation of Rome in many countries of the western world at the time, especially in Britain and continental Europe, the festival of Floralia spread, with each country adding its own special touches to the festivities. And finally, Floralia became MayDay.

Many countries choose a May Queen to preside over the day's activities and children dance around the Maypole. Some collect flowers on May Eve for the next day and some couples even make love in their garden to ensure fertility. One belief that has been passed on is that one should wash one's face with the dew from MayDay morn to obtain lasting beauty.
- Linda Cassleman

The Jewish Passover usually falls on the first full moon after the Northern Hemisphere vernal equinox, although occasionally (7 times every 19 years) it will occur on the second full moon. The Christian churches calculate Easter as the first Sunday after the first full moon on or after the March equinox.

The official church definition for the equinox is March 21; however, as the Eastern Orthodox Churches use the older Julian calendar, while the Western Churches use the Gregorian calendar, both of which designate March 21 as the equinox, the actual date of Easter differs.

The earliest possible Easter date in any year is therefore March 22 on each calendar. The latest possible Easter date in any year is April 25.

April Quotes

"Sweet April showers do spring May flowers."
- Thomas Tusser 1557, (A Hundred Good Points of Husbandry)

"If Spring came but once in a century, instead of once a year, or burst forth with the sound of an earthquake, and not in silence, what wonder and expectation there would be in all hearts to behold the miraculous change! But now the silent succession suggests nothing but necessity. To most men only the cessation of the miracle would be miraculous and the perpetual exercise of God's power seems less wonderful than its withdrawal would be."
- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

"The first of April is the day we remember what we are the other 364 days of the year."
- Mark Twain

"April hath put a spirit of youth in everything."
- William Shakespeare

"April is the cruelest month, breeding lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
memory and desire, stirring dull roots with spring rain."
- T. S. Eliot, The Waste Land, 1922

 

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