01 April 2013


‘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 honored,
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

“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:
Full Pink Moon on the 25th. There will be a partial eclipse of the moon the same night, which will be visible everywhere except North America.

[“Pink” has nothing to do with the color of the moon, unless you have some interesting atmospheric conditions.  Pinks, a flower we know better as carnations, are said to start blooming now.  Their name comes from the jagged edges of the petals, which looked as if they had been cut with pinking scissors.]

Lyrid Meteor Shower, early morning on the 22nd. The waxing moon will drown out much of it, but EarthSky says to watch after the moon sets.  [Here the moon sets at 3:19 or thereabouts, while dawn breaks at 4:12 (well before sunrise) so there will be about an hour of chilly morning watching.]

April is dedicated to The Blessed Sacrament.

Liturgical Celebrations
The Octave of Easter, eight days (inclusive) from Easter Sunday to the following Sunday.
First Friday                             5 April
First Saturday                         6 April
Divine Mercy Sunday            7 April (fist Sunday after Easter)
Annunciation                          8 April (this year)

Novenas for March
Divine Mercy…………………… continues from 29 March (also here)
Annunciation……….…………… continues from 30 March (also here)
Blessed Margaret de Castello …... begins 4 April
Saint George ……………………. begins 14 April
Saint Gianna Beretta Molla ……... begins 19 April
Saint Catherine of Siena ………… begins 20 April (new calendar) or 21 April (old calendar) (also here)
Saint Peregrine ………………….. begins 22 April (also here)
Saint Walburga ………………….. begins 22 April
Saint Joseph the Worker ………… begins 22 April
Saint Monica …………………….. begins 25 April (old calendar)
Our Lady of Pompeii ……………. begins 29 April
Ascension ………………………... begins 30 April (also here)


April weather:
Rain and sunshine, both together.

Weather for April:
Based on the 12 Days of Christmas:  Bright sunshine and clear skies.
Based on the first 12 days of January: Clear skies and very cold.
Based on the Ember Days:  Mostly sunny and warm.
[Looks like a little of everything.]

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 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.

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

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.

April wears a white hat [either frost or snow, especially at the beginning of the month]
It is not April without a frosty crown.
'Til April's dead, change not a thread [don't put your winter woolies away just yet]

Snow in April is manure.

4/1 – If it thunders on All Fools' Day, it brings good crops of corn and hay [and we had thunder in the Smallest State, presaging some very cold weather.  The corn had better be good this year!]

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

4/1-3 – 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.

4/7 – The first Sunday after Easter settles the weather for the whole summer

4/14 – If it rains on Pastor Sunday (second after Easter), it will rain every Sunday until Pentecost.

4/24 – 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.

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. 

Mary’s Garden:
According to legend, when Mary wept as she watched her Son carrying His Cross, a carnation grew where each tear landed.

Against St. George, when blue is worn,  
The blue Harebells the fields adorn,

Advice to the Gardener:
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."

April. Limbourg frères. Grandes Heures of Jean, Duc de Berry, Fifteenth century. [unfortunately, the page got wet at some point]
The calendar pages of the Grandes Heures carried more religious symbolism than that of the more famous Tres Riches Heures.  Each month was dedicated to a part of the Apostles Creed, with the relevant prophecy from the Old Testament and scripture from the New Testament.  April is dedicated to the article of the Creed which says “…He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried…” Here we see (left to right) Saint Paul instructing the Galatians (although the scripture “…for although He was crucified through weakness…” comes from II Corinthians 13:4); Our Lady stands above one of the gates of the New Jerusalem, holding a banner with a depiction of the Crucified Christ; Taurus, the Bull, astrological symbol of April, emerges from the gate; the sun has moved into the fourth of twelve divisions in the arc of the sky; and below it, budding trees stand next to well-grown grain.

Moses and Saint John the Evangelist Adore the Blessed Sacrament, from “The Hours of Catherine of Cleves” 15th century.
Moses holds a banderole which references Deuteronomy 8.3: “He afflicted thee with want, and gave thee manna for thy food, which neither thou nor thy fathers knew: to show that not in bread alone does man live, but in every word that proceeds from the mouth of God”.  Saint John’s banderole comes from Revelations 2:17: “…to him that overcomes, I will give the hidden manna…”

April. Limbourg frères. Grandes Heures of Jean, Duc de Berry, Fifteenth century.
Depicted at the bottom of the calendar pages in the Grande Heures is the fulfillment of the Law and the Prophets of the Old Testament by the articles of the Apostles Creed.  In each, a prophet (cloaked to show the obscurity of prophecy) takes a stone out of the building representing the Old Law and offers it to an apostle, who, by raising the cloak ‘uncovers’ the prophecy with an article of faith. Here the Prophet Zechariah pulls another brick out of the edifice, whose towers are beginning to fall, and holds a banderole which translates to “…and they shall look upon me (their God) whom they have pierced…” (Zechariah 12:10).   Saint John the Evangelist presents the relevant part of the Apostle’s Creed, “…He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried…”

April - Feasting. Engraving based on an 11th century manuscript. William Walsh, Curiosities of Popular Customs (1898) p. 58.  Easter falls in April (or very near in the last week of March), and after a month and a half of scant Lenten fare, our ancestors were quite ready to spread the table with good things and sit down to it with family and friends.