Presently April 2021
Presently April, the month that begins with fun and jokes, a custom that has gone on for hundreds of years. The Cuckoo signals the spring, although spring has officially been onboard as of 1 March. The trees and plants starts “to open” and begin to grow with brighter and clearer days (hopefully!) in the northern hemisphere. The grass grows green and charming daisies bloom here and there which is also right about the time when the Easter bunny makes an appearance. In the midst of cheerful, bright and clear days, the month brings April rains which calls for umbrellas and rain boots as well.
More about ‘April’
History of ‘April’
Well, as we know, the month of April is the fourth month of the year and consist of thirty days. However, this was not always the case. In early Roman calendar, April was the second month and consisted of twenty-nine days. Then it became the fourth month consisting of twenty-nine days when January was designated the first month in the calendar – this took place around 450BC. Then, the 30th day was added by Julius Caesar when he established the new calendar.
Today, April remains the fourth month of the year with thirty days in the Gregorian calendar. The month is associated with spring in the Northern hemisphere while it is autumn in the Southern hemisphere.
Not sure if you noticed – the month of April starts on the same day of the week as July and ends on the same day of the week as December in common years. When in leap years, April starts on the same day of the week as January.
Origins of ‘April’
No one really knows how the name ‘April’ originated but it is believed that it derived from the Latin word, aperit which means “to open”. Aptly named because April is the growing season and trees and flowers begin “to open.” April is also believed to be named after the Greek goddess of love, Aphrodite.
The Anglo-Saxon named the month Eostre monath or Eastremonath because the Christian festival, Easter is celebrated during April. Easter is often regarded a moveable feast because the date is set according to the moon. Easter Sunday could be the first Sunday after the full moon, which means Easter can be as early as March 22 or April 25. This year, Easter was celebrated on April 4, 2021.
April Fool’s Day
The month begins with April Fool’s Day. It has been a custom where the first day of the month is a day of fun and silly jokes. No one knows how it began but it has gone on for hundreds of years.
The first of April is the day we remember what we are the other 364 days of the year.”Mark Twain
The Cuckoo in UK
Listen out to the spring time call of the cuckoo, sometime mid-April when they return from Africa to start their nesting behaviour. Traditionally, the first cuckoo is heard around April 14, St Tiburtius’ Day and sings through to St John’s Day, 24 June. The cuckoo is heard at various places across UK on different dates. The first sighting is often in Isle of Scilly, the far south-west and then gradually moves north. Some places hold cuckoo fairs to welcome spring. There’s a saying that the cuckoo is not heard before Tenbury Fair (21 April) or after Pershore Fair (26 June) in Worcesterhire.
Some traditional fairs held as ‘Cuckoo Day’ or ‘Cuckoo Fairs’
Marsden Cuckoo Festival, West Yorkshire – An annual ancient festival of dance, music and sunshine to mark the arrival of spring. Historically takes place on the last Saturday of April;
Heathfield Cuckoo Fair, East Sussex – An annual tradition since 1315 to mark the arrival of spring on the Saturday in late April. “Dame Heffle” releases a cuckoo from her basket to mark this unique event.
Downton Cuckoo Fair, Salisbury, Wiltshire – An annual traditional event to mark “opening the gate” to let the cuckoo through-first weekend in May.
Those born in the month of April can proudly call one of the world’s most sought-after and adored gemstone, diamond as their birthstone. The name ‘diamond’ comes from the Greek word, “adamas” which means “invincible” or “unbreakable”. The gem symbolises inner strength, and clarity. It is thought that the wearer benefits from balance and abundance.
April’s birth flower
By April, spring is (should be) in full swing and April’s birth flowers begin to make their presence known. April’s birth flowers are the daisy and the sweet pea.
The all too familiar rhyme of “he loves me, he loves me not” is associated with Daisy, a flower that is said to convey innocence, loyal love and purity. Yet, it is a flower given between friends to keep a secret – it means “I’ll never tell”
There are about twenty-five varieties of colourful Daisy but the most well known one is our humble common daisy or the Oxeye daisy – white and yellow flower heads brightening up paths, verges and lawns here, there, everywhere. Perhaps the following poem sums up the best of Daisy:
There is a flower, Innocent and bright, Silver crest and goldeneye, sweetly simple and charming;
Standing tall, out of a sky of green, springing up here and there;
It tells you of sunny times, and gay meadows; Where water, wind and birdsong sings a soothing symphony, to calm the hurt of times gone by;
So, as daisies bloom, here, there and everywhere – it speaks of hope, a unique melody;
In the midst of simplicity, where it stands up, like a star – Innocent and bright eyed.
The other of April birth flower is the sweet pea – a climbing plant that bear clusters of flowers in a wide variety of beautiful vibrant colours including red, pink, blue, white, and lavender along with intense fragrance. They have a long season of bloom and make excellent cut flowers.
Sweet pea originated in the southwest of Italy and the Mediterranean islands, eventually cultivated as garden flowers in 17th century. They lend a cottage feel to gardens and often grown on bamboo tripods.
There’s a beautiful poem by Alfred Noyes that says all about Sweet Pea:
Under the sweet-peas I stood
And drew deep breaths, they smelt so good.
Then, with strange enchanted eyes,
I saw them change to butterflies.
Higher than the skylark sings
I saw their fluttering crimson wings
Leave their garden-trellis bare
And fly into the upper air.
Standing in an elfin trance
Through the clouds I saw them glance….
Then I stretched my hands up high
And touched them in the distant sky.
At once the coloured wing came back
From wandering in the zodiac.
Under the sweet-peas I stood
And drew deep breaths. They smelt so good.
by Alfred Noyes
April astronomy – Super Full Pink Moon April 2021
Catch a glimpse of the first of the two supermoons in 2021 in the northern hemisphere. The supermoon in April is traditionally known as Pink Moon.
Learn more about lunar phases, supermoons and more from Royal Museums Greenwich | Visit Greenwich, a historical town where Time began
UK readers – venture outside on the night/early hours of Tuesday 27 April, 2021 when the full pink moon is expected to peak at 04:31. However, the moon shall be visible after sunset and you can follow its progress and watch it peak at 4:31 a.m.
USA readers – venture outside on the night of Monday 26 April 2021. The super Pink Moon is visible after sunset and is said to peak at 11:33 p.m. EDT.
Origins of full moon names
The full moon names have several sources. They came from Native Americans, Colonial Americans and European sources.
Time was not recorded using months in accordance with Julian or Gregorian calendar by the early Native Americans. The groups gave each full moon a nickname to keep track of time and lunar months. Most of these names relate to an activity or an event that took place at a specific location. As one can imagine, there was no uniformity of a “system” as the groups named and counted moons differently. For example, some counted four seasons in a year while others said five. A year was defined as twelve moons while some said there were thirteen!
Although the “system” lacked uniformity, the Colonial Americans adopted some of the moon names and applied them to their own calendar system, hence their present existence.
Why is the April full moon called the “Pink Moon”
However, as mystical as the April full moon name may seem, the super Pink Moon in April is not pink!. It was named by the Native Americans after the pink wildflowers which appear around this time in North America, called Phlox Subulata. This pink bloom is native to eastern North America and is also known as moss pink. Another name to given to Pink Moon is Egg Moon because of egg-laying season in spring, while the coastal groups named the April moon as Fish Moon, referring to the shad swimming upstream around this time.
April Meteor showers
April is a great month to spot some spectacular night sky displays, gracing us with bright and fast meteors. Associated with Comet Thatcher, these meteors come with trains and are at their optimum on 22 April 2021. You could also witness them from 13 April through to 29 April.
Meteor showers make great photography opportunity if you want to capture that milky way! :). Learn more on > How to spot a meteor shower.
April is no stranger to rhymes and there are just one too many to share here but here are three that you may like.
The sun was warm but the wind was chill.
You know how it is with an April day.
When the sun is out and the wind is still,
You’re one month on in the middle of May.
But if you so much as dare to speak,
a cloud come over the sunlit arch,
And wind comes off a frozen peak,
And you’re two months back in the middle of March.”– Robert Frost, Two Tramps in Mud Time, 1926
Oh, how fresh the wind is blowing!
See! The sky is bright and clear,
Oh, how green the grass is growing!
April! April! Are you here?Dora R. Goodale (1866-1953)
April cold with dripping rain,
Willows and lilacs brings again,
The whistle of returning birds,
And trumpet-lowing of the herds.”Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882)
April in history
Recap of what has been going on so far since March e-column
March had been a busy month – with Lent, Mothering Sunday, spring cleaning, writing and nature walks – not sure where the month had gone!!
On the writing front, there were Easy Sunday Read articles along with travel articles on Isle of Wight, one of England’s haven. As well, a couple of articles on English Heritage, an excellent value for money Pass to visit some of the most iconic of England’s priceless sites for a small fee. Please find all of these articles below, if you had missed them previously:
Easy Sunday Read articles on History of Britain
What to look forward in April
There are couple more related articles on History of Britain and the Tower which will come your way this month as easy Sunday read before this part of the series is concluded. As travel within UK is looking likely in the coming months, there are some articles on Isle of Wight which will be in your inbox as well. If you are planning to travel abroad, please visit Best offer on Winter Sun and Summers at the Beach for some impressive value for money travel offers.
On a final note…
We know “April showers bring May flowers,” – if April rains ever gets you down, remember the silver lining round the corner! Look forward to sharing more in May.
Have an awesome month of April!