I was sitting in a coffee shop and wondering about the month of April. How did April get its name? Like most English words ‘April’ comes from other, older languages. The Romans used to call this month ‘Aprilis’ which eventually became April, the word we all know today. Or did it? I did some more research and here’s what I found.
- April is the fourth month of the Gregorian calendar.
“The Gregorian calendar was introduced in October 1582 by Pope Gregory XIII as a modification of, and replacement for, the Julian calendar.”
The Gregorian calendar is the calendar used in most of the world. From what I learned, only four countries are not currently using this calendar. (As of March 2022) Afghanistan, Iran, Ethiopia, and Nepal.
As I mentioned above the word April originally comes from a Roman word. Rome is in the northern hemisphere so it’s easy to understand if the word April is related to Springtime.
But is it really connected to Springtime?
The origin of April – controversy?
The idea is that the name April comes from words in ancient languages that are related to Spring. Many people believe April comes from the Latin word aperire which means to open. As plants and flowers come back to life they “open” in April.
Some months in the Roman Calendar are named after gods. So some people believe that the month is named for Venus, the goddess of love, who is celebrated in April.
You are probably thinking, Venus ≠ April. You are correct. But the Greek goddess of love is called Aphrodite. Her month was called Aphrilis.
…it has been suggested that Aprilis was originally her (Venus’) month Aphrilis, from her equivalent Greek goddess name Aphrodite (Aphros)
The group of people living in England in the Early Middle Ages was called Anglo-Saxons. They used to call this month ēastre-monaþ. (I don’t know how to pronounce that!)
It is said that ēastre is the root of the word Easter, a holiday associated with new life, the coming of Spring, and the end of Winter.
Interesting facts about April – Did you know?
The birthstone of April is DIAMOND
In the West, a birthstone is a gem that is assigned to each of the 12 months. Diamond is the birthstone set for the month of April. NICE! Diamonds are well-known and valuable gemstones. Diamonds are not as rare as I thought, their value actually comes from their hardness and beauty. Diamonds are commonly used in engagement rings.
April 1st is April fools day
April fools day is a day for playing jokes on people, tricking them, and lying to them. This is mostly done with fun in mind, there is no desire to hurt people or cause pain or damage.
As a child, I remember telling white lies to my friends and family to try and fool them. Of course, they tried to fool me too! While I was researching this post I learned that this April Fool’s day is quite popular all around the world. Much more than I thought!
One city in Ukraine called Odessa has even made April fools day a national holiday. They have a festival with a big parade, free concerts, street fairs, and performances. [LINK]
Where I live and Where I’m from
I live in Japan, and in Japanese April is literally called the fourth month – 4月. This comes from China, where the same naming system is used – 四月.
In Canada, where I’m from, April is the beginning of springtime. Plants and animals come back after a long cold winter.
In my new home in Japan, April is an important month too. Cherry tree blossoms appear across the country, and people gather in parks to have a picnic underneath the cherry trees. The cherry blossom has become a symbol of Japan.
The Japanese National Rugby team is known as the Cherry Blossoms, Sakura, and more recently The Brave Blossoms. (Sakura is the Japanese word used for cherry blossoms.)
April is not Springtime everywhere
April is not the start of Spring everywhere in the world. For all my friends in Brazil, Australia, South Africa, Peru, and the whole southern hemisphere, April is the start of fall.
April facts – Your Turn
What are some April celebrations and holidays in your country? Is your birth month April? How about your friends and family? Tell me the comment section below.