Tuesday, April 3, 2012

The Month of April

And Spring arose on the garden fair,
Like the Spirit of Love felt everywhere;
And each flower and herb on Earth's dark breast
rose from the dreams of its wintry rest."
- Percy Bysshe Shelley -

Welcome April !!!  When March was the first month in the calendar of the ancient Roman year, April was the second; in later times, when January became the first month, April moved to the fourth place. The Romans called this month Aprilis, stemming from the Latin verb aperire meaning 'to open' as this is the time of the year that the earth opens up to new life with the blossoming of trees and flowers.  Others say that this month was named for the Greek goddess, Aphrodite, goddess of love and beauty. The Anglo- Saxons called it Eosturmonath or Easter-month after the goddess Eoster, to whom they held festivals in this month.

The sweet pea and the daisy are the flowers for April. The daisy represents purity and the innocence of youth. Maidens wore daisies in their hair to proclaim their virginity.In Ossian's poems, the Daisy is called the flower of the newborn—most expressive of innocence.  In support of this statement there is a lovely old Celtic legend which says that   'each unborn babe taken from earth becomes a spirit, which scatters down on the earth some new and lovely flower to cheer its bereaved parents'. 

In another way the Daisy speaksof love. It is the oracle ofyouthful maidens. While plucking away the snowy petals, the fair questioner of fate should murmur low to herself the cabalistic formula...

"' He loves me, loves me not,' she said,
Bending low her dainty head
O'er the daisy's mystic spell.
'He loves me, loves me not, he loves,'
She murmurs 'mid the golden groves

According to a Roman myth, the Daisy owes its origin to Belides, one of the Dryads, female spirits of nature who were supposed to preside over the meadows and pastures. One day, while dancing on the turf , it seems that she attracted the admiration of Vertumnus, the deity who presided over orchards.  To escape from his advances, she was transformed into the humble Daisy, the Latin name of which is Bellis. 

The vividly-colored Sweet Pea is a native of Italy were first imported to England from Sicily in l699. It symbolizes happiness, blissful pleasure, and has been used to say good-bye.  In Victorian times, a gift of the Sweet Pea symbolized, "Thank you for a lovely time". Sweet pea are always given to celebrate the birth of a new baby and included in wedding flowers or a wedding bouquet According to Irish lore, it is believed if you plant the Sweet Pea before sunrise on St. Patrick's Day,  it will grow to be a lot larger than other Sweet Peas and be a lot more fragrant. 

Among the proverbs of this  month are the following:

A cold April 
The barn will fill. 

An April flood
Carries away the frog and his brood.

April showers 
Bring May-flowers. 

When April blows his horn 
It is good for hay and corn. 

April the First stands marked by custom's rules, 
A day of being and of making fools. 

In my opinion, Spring is not really here until I see the cheerful glow the Forsythia. Its blooms are not only a reminder that spring is on its way, but it also serves of a gentle reminder of days gone by, of childhood dreams and fantasies, of loved ones who passed away many, many years ago, but still remain in my heart.  My grandparents had a forsythia tree in their back yard, not to far from the chicken coop.  Those were some spunky little chickens who sent me running every time I walked past the coop to pick some forsythia for my grandma.  It's almost as if they 'knew' that I was afraid and were getting a kick out of putting a scare into me. 

This past Saturday when I went to the market, it was cold, dreary, and wet, a steady cold drizzle that chilled one's body to the bone. It was a depressing sort of day, the kind of day that all you want to do is complete your chores as quickly as possible and hightail it back to the warmth and comfort of your home. It was then that I saw it, that telltale bush with the yellow, star-like flowers that shout out 'Spring is coming, and all is well with the world'. Its flowers offer one  hope that better days are on their way.

"Forsythia is pure joy. There is not an ounce, not a glimmer of sadness or even knowledge in forsythia. Pure, undiluted, untouched joy."

- Anne Morrow Lindbergh-

1 comment:

  1. I love to see forsythia too, especially when they have been allowed to grow into a wild and uncut habit. So beautiful. I have seen forsythia cut into a square or round shape, harsh and in military-style form...not natural at all. Let them be flowing and carefree!