April Is the Fourth Month of the Year

April is a spring month in the northern half of the world and a fall month in the southern half. It might be named after Aphrodite, the goddess of love.

Closeup of mountain daisies, April's birth flower.

April’s birth flower is the daisy.

©bigstockphoto.com/duallogic

April is the fourth month in the Gregorian calendar and has 30 days. It is the second month of astronomical spring in the Northern Hemisphere and the second month of astronomical fall in the Southern Hemisphere.

What Is the Meaning of April?

April comes from the Latin Aprilis. The meaning is not clear; some historians believe that it comes from the Latin words aperire (to open) or apricus (sunny) because April is seen as the month of Sun and growth in the Northern Hemisphere.

Another explanation for the etymology of April goes back to Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love, beauty, and procreation. The Etruscans knew her as Apru. Since the Romans inherited many Etruscan customs and myths, they celebrated the same goddess in April.

What Is April Fool’s Day?

On April 1, people in countries all over the world like to play pranks on other people. Depending on the culture, the victim of such a joke is known as a fool or a fish (poisson d’avril). It is not clear when the tradition started, and there are countless theories.

The likely answer why we play hoaxes on each other in April is because the winter is over: March and April end the long time of winter in the Northern Hemisphere and bring new life. In many cultures, this was celebrated with colorful festivities, dancing, and making fun of each other.

Two young girls putting makeup on their father.

Colorful jokes on unwitting victims are probably as old as human civilization.

©iStockphoto.com/sturti

Astronomical Events in April 2023

Earthshine Nights: The unlit part of the Moon sometimes becomes visible around New Moon. The best time in 2023 to see this phenomenon known as earthshine or Da Vinci Glow is on April 4/5 and April 26/27.

Pink Moon: April’s Full Moon is traditionally known as the Pink Moon because of the pink flowers (Phlox subulata) that bloom in North America during this time of year.

Lyrid Meteor Shower: The meteor shower is named after the constellation Lyra. The shower is expected to peak around April 22 and 23. The fireballs are created by debris from the comet C/1861 G1 (Thatcher)).

History of April

In the old Roman calendar, April was called mens aprilis and initially had 30 days. When January was introduced into the calendar, April was cut down to 29 days.

In the year 46 BCE, Julius Caesar introduced a new calendar system—the Julian calendar. He added ten days to the year and introduced the leap day. In the new Julian calendar, April was expanded to 30 days.

Ancient Roman wall calendar from Antium showing all Roman months

This Roman wall calendar dating from 84-55 BCE shows “APR” as the fourth month.

Photograph by Bauglir / CC BY-SA 4.0

April Birthstone and Birth Flowers

According to tradition, the birthstone for April is the diamond, representing innocence. Its birth flowers are the daisy (Bellis perennis) and the sweet pea (Lathyrus odoratus).

Zodiac Signs in April


Topics: Calendar, History, Months, April