Some while ago I compiled a set of 12 ‘It Happened in ….’ books – one for each day of each month of the year. It was sold locally and went quite well. However, various things came along and stopped me taking the ‘Happenings’ further. Now – hopefully – this is the beginning of the next version of ‘It Happened in ….’ and we’re starting it in April.
April is the fourth month of the year and, by the Romans of times long past, was associated with the goddess Venus – and the word April may be related to her Greek name Aphrodite. Both this and the traditional etymology, from the Latin aperire, to open (with reference to the opening of buds), was rejected by some scholars in favour of an ancient derivation from a word meaning ‘other’ that came from a time when March was the first month of the year.
As times and attitudes changed, traditions and expectations adjusted. Linked to this month of April we find that Diamonds became the appropriate gemstone to be gifted to your lady. If you just wanted to give your lady flowers Daisy or Sweet Peas were appropriate.
A traditional rhyme in Britain, however, tells the individuals or couples that:
Married beneath April’s changing skies; a chequered path before you lies.
Other traditions tell us that:
April blows his horn when it’s good both for hay and corn.
April floods carry away the frog and her brood.
April showers bring forth May flowers.
1606-7 – Shakespeare in Antony and Cleopatra III ii 43: ‘The April’s in her eyes. It is love’s spring, And these the showers to bring it on.’
1648 – Herrick in Hesper – ‘First, April, she with mellow showers Opens the way for early flowers; Then after her comes smiling May, in a more rich and sweet array.’
1846 – Denham: ‘March winds and April showers bring forth May flowers.’
Mid 19th century – ‘March brings breezes sharp and shrill, and shakes the dancing daffodil while April brings the primrose sweet and scatters daisies at our feet.’
We’ll tell the story of an airplane – and pilot! – next Tuesday