Thursday, April 03, 2008
Where, might I ask, do we get the name of the month of April?
The derivation of the name (Latin Aprilis) is uncertain. The traditional etymology from the Latin aperire, "to open," in allusion to its being the season when trees and flowers begin to "open," is supported by comparison with the modern Greek use of ἁνοιξις (opening) for spring. Since most of the Roman months were named in honor of divinities, and as April was sacred to Venus, the Festum Veneris et Fortunae Virilis being held on the first day, it has been suggested that Aprilis was originally her month Aphrilis, from her Greek name Aphrodite (Aphros), or from the Etruscan name Apru. Jacob Grimm suggests the name of a hypothetical god or hero, Aper or Aprus.
The Anglo-Saxons called April Oster-monath or Eostur-monath, the period sacred to Eostre or Ostara, the pagan Saxon goddess of spring, from whose name is derived the modern Easter.