episode #49 spring in April

The Romans gave this month the Latin name Aprilis. The traditional etymology is from the verb aperire, “to open”, and truly trees and flowers begin to ‘open’, which is supported by comparison with the modern Greek use of word  ‘opening’ for spring. Most of Roman months were named in honour of divinities, and as April was dedicated to the goddess Venus, her Veneralia being held on the first day. Venus is also the second planet from the Sun, named after this Roman goddess of love and beauty.  It has been suggested that Aprilis was originally named Aphrilis, from equivalent Greek goddess name Aphrodite (Aphros), or from her the Etruscan equivalent Apru. Aphrodite is goddess of love, beauty, passion and pleasure.

From the Anglo-Saxons point of view the month of April is called ēastre-monaþ. Eostre is the goddess of dawn who is celebrated during the Spring Equinox. Do you remember me mentioning the Venerable Bede stating that Easter was named after a pagan goddess of spring and fertility Eostre whose feast was in that month? Furthermore, historical linguists have traced the name to a Proto-Indo-European goddess of the dawn *H₂ewsṓs, from which descends the Common Germanic divinity at the origin of Ēostre and Ôstara.

The Old English Ēostre is a distant cognate of numerous dawn goddesses documented among Indo-European-speaking peoples, including Uṣás, Ēṓs, and Aurōra. In the words of the Encyclopedia of Indo-European Culture, “a Proto-Indo-European goddess of the dawn is supported both by the evidence of cognate names and the similarity of mythic representation of the dawn goddess among various Indo-European groups” and “all of this evidence permits us to posit a Proto-Indo-European *haéusōs ‘goddess of dawn’ who was characterised as a ‘reluctant’ bringer of light for which she is punished. In three of the Indo-European stocks, Baltic, Greek and Indo-Iranian, the existence of a Proto-Indo-European ‘goddess of the dawn’ is given additional linguistic support in that she is designated the ‘daughter of heaven’.”

On the other side, in Czech, we call this month ‘duben’, derived from name for oaks, which begin to grow leaves during this month. Vegetable growing really takes off in April.

Spoken word

William Wordsworth: Lines Written in Early Spring

April comes like an idiot, babbling and stewing flowers.

Edna St. Vincent Millay

April hath put the spirit of youth in everything.

William Shakespeare

Winter’s done, and April’s in the skies, Earth look up with laughter in your eyes.

Charles G.D. Roberts

Sweet April showers do spring May flowers. 

Thomas Tusser


The Good, The Bad & The Queen: Nature Springs

Massive Attack [feat. Liz Frazer]: Silent Spring 

Evenings: Babe

The Quantic Soul Orchestra: Babarabatiri

Tape Five: Dog Walk Theme

Gabin: Azul Anil

Gregory Porter: Wind Song

Oscar Peterson: Younger Than Springtime

Dj Cam Quartet: Raise Up

Michel Legrand: Paris In The Spring

Blossom Dearie: April in Paris

Nina Simone: What More Can I Say?

Michel Legrand: April in Paris

Community radio midnight show Through the Bohemian Looking Glass is aired every night at midnight (GMT). A new episode is aired every Friday midnight on Wirral Wave radio or AirTime. Later on SoundCloud for some time.

Suggestions, opinions and comments welcomed at veronika(at)wirralwave(dot)co(dot)uk.