April 2017 is the first full month of spring! We hope that your sky is bright and clear and your grass is growing green. In celebration, check out the month’s holidays, recipes, gardening tips, and folklore.
Oh, how fresh the wind is blowing!
See! The sky is bright an clear,
Oh, how green the grass is growing!
April! April! Are you here?
–Dora R. Goodale (1866–1953)
The Latin word aperio, meaning “to open or bud,” gives us the name April.
April 1 is All Fools’, or April Fools’, a day when jokers traditionally play harmless pranks and hoaxes on the unsuspecting.
In honor of the occasion, can you solve the following riddle?
What’s that in the Fire, and not in the Flame?
What’s that in the Master, and not in the Dame?
What’s that in the Courtier, and not in the Clown?
What’s that in the Country, and not in the Town?
(*Answer at bottom of page)
This year, Passover, a weeklong Jewish festival, begins at sundown on April 10. What is Passover?
April 19, 2017, is the 242nd anniversary of the Battle of Lexington and Concord. See This Month in History, below, to learn what events led up to this famous battle.
On the 24th, we celebrate the birthday of Robert B. Thomas, the founder of The Old Farmer’s Almanac!
A conjunction involving the Sun, Mars, and Jupiter will occur on April 29.
See our monthly calendar page for more holidays and events.
Recipes for the Season
Springtime brings the first crops of the season. See a few recipes below:
Sauteed Fiddlehead Ferns
Spring Vegetable Salad
Sorrel Linguine With Spring Peas, Green Garlic, and Fresh Ricotta
Click for more Spring Recipes using seasonal ingredients from across North America!
Does the warmth of spring turn you thoughts to gardening? It does ours!
Monthly Gardening Jobs
Make a Container Gardening Planter
Plant Guides to Roses, Flowers, and Shrubs
Plant Guides to Vegetable, Herbs, Fruit
Starting Your Garden
Are you daunted by the thought of a top-to-bottom spring cleaning? Here are some tips to help.
Make Your Own Cleaners
Homemade Cleaners for Carpet, Floor, Glass, Drains
Fix House Problems
Birds & Fishing
The Full Pink Moon rises on April 11, 2017. See what’s special about the Full Moon for April.
Find more night sky highlights at our April Sky Watch.
April Folklore and Fun
When April blows his horn,
It’s good for hay and corn.
When on St. George’s Day (April 23), rye will hide a crow,
a good harvest may be expected.
April Birth Symbols
April’s birth flower is the daisy or sweet pea. See birth flower meanings.
April’s birthstone is the diamond. See birthstone meanings.
A few fun facts about diamonds:
- The diamond, composed solely of carbon, is the hardest gemstone and can be cut only by another diamond. Although often colorless, it also may appear in yellow, brown, red, pink, orange, blue, or green, from pale to intense; the more saturated the hue, the more valuable the stone.
- Diamonds form about 90 miles deep in Earth, at tremendous pressure.
- This gem is a symbol of everlasting love and was once thought to protect against poison.
- The largest known diamond is 2,500 miles wide and weighs approximately 10 billion trillion trillion carats. A crystallized white dwarf star, it is located in the constellation Centaurus, about 50 light-years from Earth. It is nicknamed “Lucy,” after the Beatles song, “Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds.”
This Month in History
Light the Signal!
In April 1775, it became apparent that the British in Boston were planning a campaign to seize arms, ammunition, and other stores stockpiled by American patriots in Concord, Massachusetts, and possibly, to arrest members of the illegal Provincial Congress. The question was, Which route would the British take from Boston to Concord?
In mid-April, Paul Revere, as a member of the Sons of Liberty Committee of Safety, arranged with the sexton of Boston’s Old North Church, Robert Newman, for a simple system of signals: the number of lanterns lit in the belfry would indicate how the British would be advancing toward Concord. One lantern would signify that the British would come by land, via Boston Neck; two lanterns, that they would come by water, by first crossing the Charles River to Cambridge.
On the evening of April 18, 1775, Dr. Joseph Warren summoned Revere and told him that the British planned to move that night, going by way of the Charles River. He asked Revere to travel to Lexington to warn leaders Samuel Adams and John Hancock that their imminent arrest was likely.
After the meeting, Revere set plans in motion for two lanterns to be lit in the Old North Church. (Robert Newman and vestryman Captain John Pulling carried the lanterns to the steeple while Thomas Bernard stood watch outside.) Then, after a brief stop at home to dress appropriately, Revere was rowed across the Charles River, after which he traveled to Charlestown to meet with the Sons of Liberty to ensure that they saw the signal. He next borrowed a horse and headed off to Lexington, on his famous “midnight ride.”
Other patriots, including William Dawes and Samuel Prescott, spread the news along other routes.
Paul Revere’s Ride
The 1861 poem “Paul Revere’s Ride” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, which begins with Listen, my children, and you shall hear / Of the midnight ride of Paul Revere, contains historical inaccuracies. For example, Revere did not cry out his alarm through the nighttime ride, but spread the news as quietly as possible. He was on a secret mission and had to avoid British patrols.
Although he narrowly avoided several encounters, his luck ran out when he, William Dawes, and Dr. Samuel Prescott traveled to Concord to ensure that the military stores there had been hidden. Along the way, they were stopped by a patrol. Dawes, and later Prescott, escaped, but Revere was recaptured and questioned, often at gunpoint, for hours; he never made it to Concord. Prescott did, however, alerting the militia there.
On April 19, in the wee hours of the morning, Revere, along with a few other prisoners, was returned to Lexington and released. He then went over to another part of town to assist Adams and Hancock in their relocation. He was helping to move a trunk of Hancock’s that contained papers when the sound of gunshots between British troops and minutemen came from the town green. He did not know who had fired first.
(*Answer to riddle: The letter “r”)