01 April 2012


‘From ancient texts I sing the days and seasons,
And the star-signs that rise and set, beneath the Earth.
I’ve reached the fourth month, where you’re most honoured,
And you know, Venus, both month and poet are yours.’
The goddess, moved, touching my brow lightly
With Cytherean myrtle, said: ‘Finish what you’ve begun.’
                                                                                    Ovid, Fasti, Book IV

Next came fresh April, full of lustyhead,
And wanton as a kid whose horn new buds;
Upon a bull he rode, the same which led
Europa floating through th’ Argolick floods:
His horns were gilden all with golden studs,
And garnished with garlands goodly dight
Of all the fairest flowers and freshest buds
Which th’ earth brings forth; and wet he seem’d in sight
With waves, through which he waded for his love’s delight.

“April – The fourth month of the modern year, and the first month of spring… The name has been a subject of considerable etymological guess-work.  It has been supposed to come for aperio, “I open,” as marking the time when buds of trees and flowers begin to open.  But, inasmuch as all the other months are named after divinities or suppositious demigods, and as the Romans always looked upon April as being under the peculiar tutelage of Venus, it seems not impossible that Aprilis was originally Aphrilis, for Aphrodite, the Greek name of Venus.” William Walsh, Curiosities of Popular Customs (1898) p. 58
Astronomy for April:

Pink Moon on the 6th. [the Pink is another name for the Carnation]

Lyrid Meteor Shower, from late night on the 21st to just before dawn on the 22nd.  And no moon to interfere this year!
April weather:
Rain and sunshine, both together.

Weather for April:
Based on the 12 Days of Christmas:  Warm.  Sunny, then overcast, then sunny, then overcast...
Based on the first 12 days of January:  Mostly sunny and very, very cold.
Based on the Ember Days:  Chilly, with rain and light snow.
[I don't think April can make up its mind what to be.]
Weather Lore for April

Rain in April will bring a good May.

Betwixt April and May if there be rain,
Tis worth more than oxen and wain [wagon].

April rains for men, May for beasts (a wet April is good for corn, a wet May good for grass)

April showers bring milk and meal.

April rains make large sheaves.

In April, each drop counts for a thousand.

If it rains in April, it will rain incessantly in May.

A wet April makes a dry June.

A cold April will fill the barn.
        on the other hand
Warm April, great blessing.

Cold April gives bread and wine [at least in France.  In Spain, however, "A cold April, much bread and little wine".  I prefer a French April.]

A cold April brings much fruit.

A cold and moist April fills the cellar and fattens the cow.

Moist April, clear June,
Cloudy April, dewy May.

Fogs in April foretell a failure of the wheat-crop next year [at least in Alabama]

When April blows his horn, it's good for both hay and corn.
April thunder indicates a good hay and corn crop.

Thunder in April signifieth that same year to be fruitful and merry (with the death of wicked men, says the Book of Knowledge)

Thunderstorm in April is the end of hoar-frost.
It's not April without a frosty crown.
'Til April's dead, change not a thread [don't put your winter woolies away just yet]

April wears a white hat [either frost or snow, especially at the beginning of the month]

Snow in April is manure.

4/1 – If it thunders on All Fools' Day, it brings good crops of corn and hay.

         If it rains on the first day of April, there will be rain for fifteen successive days.

         If the weather is not clear on Palm Sunday, it means a bad year.

         If the first three days are foggy, rain in June will make the lanes boggy.

         As the weather is on the first three days of April, so it will be for the next forty days.

4/3 – If St. Rosemund’s day brings storm and wind,
         Then will St. Sibylle’s day (April 29) be mild.

4/6 – Rain on Good Friday foreshows a fruitful year.

         The sun never shines on Good Friday.

          In whatever direction the wind blows on Good Friday, it will blow for forty days.

4/8 – Rain on Easter either means a good harvest, or very little hay

         If there is enough rain on Easter Sunday to wet a pocket handkerchief, there will be a good crop year.

         If it rains on Easter Sunday, it will rain on seven Sundays in succession.

         If the wind blows a certain way on Easter Sunday, it will blow that way for six weeks.

         When there is an early Easter, there is an early spring.
                                     so therefore
         When there is a late Easter, there is a late spring.
                                   Makes sense...

4/15 – The first Sunday after Easter settles the weather for the whole summer

4/22 – If it rains on Pastor Sunday (second after Easter), it will rain every Sunday until Pentecost.

4/25 – If it rains on St. Mark’s eve, there will be an abundance of figs.

Gardening for April:

April brings the primrose sweet
Scatters daisies at our feet.

[and it would seem that, after a long Lenten fast, it is time to feast and make merry!]

The wine of April is the wine of God
The wine of May is the wine of lackeys.

4/23 – When on St. George rye will hide a crow, a good harvest may be expected. 

From the 1817 Almanac:
“With the Farmer and Gardener this is the busiest Month in the whole Year; for now whatsoever you have a mind to plant or sow, the Earth is fit to receive.  Hoe your Carrots, Radishes, Onions, &c.  Set French Beans, plant Asparagus, separate the Layers of Artichokes, and plant three of them in one Hole.  Plant Garden Beans, Rouncival, and other large Pease to succeed other Crops.  Plant Slips of Sage, Rude, Rosemary, Lavender, &c.  Sow all Sorts of Sallad Herbs and Spinach in moist Places for the last time.  Sow Turnips, and all Sorts of Cabbage-Lettuce, and transplant Cos and Silesia Lettuces which were sown last Month.

Cassell’s Illustrated almanac 1871 for April.
Flowers.—Plant out wallflowers, stocks, sweet-williams, &e . Complete the sowing of hardy annuals, and the half-hardy kinds may be sown towards the end of the month. Look carefully over your roses after curled leaves, which will be found to contain a grub that will prove destructive to the bloom if unmolested.

Vegetables.—Make a fresh sowing of beans and peas, for a succession of crops. Sow Brussels sprouts rather thinly. Get in your main crop of celery, and of onions, if not completed last month. Continue the sowing of lettuce, and water the young plants constantly in dry weather. Plant slips of herbs in shady places.

Fruit.—Grafting and trimming operations may be completed early in the month. The ground about gooseberry and currant trees should be frequently turned over with the hoe, and the stems and young leaves should be watched for the appearance of caterpillars. Clear away suckers from trees and bushes, digging toward the root for that purpose if necessary.


It is now a good Time to Bleed and take Physic; abstain from much Wine, or other strong Liquors; as they will cause a ferment in your Blood, and ruin your Constitution.

Artwork: April. Engraving by William Hone. The Everyday Book and Table Book. (1838) p. 406.

April - Feasting. Engraving based on an 11th century manuscript. William Walsh, Curiosities of Popular Customs (1898) p. 58