“Isn’t it appropriate that the month of the tax begins with April Fool’s Day and ends with cries of “May Day!”?”
I just got back from Italy, having spent nine full days there gorging myself on carbs, wine and amaretto. Upon arriving home, I looked out my back yard and noticed that the beautiful marigolds were blooming. April had come while I was away! The month of April has historically brought about rejuvenation, resurrection, reinvigoration, revenge, and resistance. Huh? Which one is not like the others? We’ll get back to this in a second. In returning from Italy, I came back with a clearer head and sense of new direction. Did you know that the first week in April has been designated as National Pooper-Scooper Week? With that auspicious beginning how could April not be the time to clean up one’s mind, body and soul? The word April has the traditional etymology from the verb aperire, “to open.” So, go ahead and open up your mind to new possibilities.
In the month of April, hibernation is ending for many animals and they are coming put refreshed and hungry. The birds fly back northward or they settle down to have their families. The birds that migrated south are heading back up north. Flowers are blooming and subsequently butterflies and bees are nourishing their bodies getting drunk on nectar. March madness that has extended into April is about to reach its peak and culmination with a winning team, whose last win occurred in the 1980s (Louisville vs. Michigan). What’s old is the new Cinderella story. We spent the weekend pulling out the weeds so that the pretty flowers can take over. We are trying to figure out what we could possibly start planting. I have always dreamt of a tomato garden under which to bury the bodies. Just kidding.
Did you know that at Baskin Robbins the flavor of the month is Jamoca Heath: coffee flavored ice cream with crunchy Heath English Toffee candy pieces. Talk about a caffeine rush. At Dairy Queen, the Blizzard of the month is Choco Covered Pretzel with Peanut Butter Blizzard. What state do I have to be in to find a Dairy Queen? Just to go on a total tangent for a minute, did you know that the pretzel was originally a strip of dough, given to children for memorizing parts of the Bible, and was thus named pretiola, which is Latin for Reward! It seems quiet appropriate then that chocolate covered pretzels (invented in Hamburg in 1544) would be a treat for the month of April. After gorging oneself on all that ice cream, you can go run London and Boston marathons. What better time to run and reach this training goal? Re-invigoration, reinvention, rejuvenation and revenge are all parts of self-rewards.
Did you know that the two zodiac signs of April –Aries and Taurus-are represented by the ram and the bull? Two animals that exemplify of resistance! It is good to recognize that April’s spring cleaning is not just about getting rid of the old, useless and long-forgotten items in one life, but is also about developing one’s personal reserve of ambition, clarity and resistance to things that get in the way of one’s pursuit of life, liberty and happiness. It is about revolting against things constraining our goals and thoughts. Historically, April has been such a time for collective resistance, re-invigoration and rejuvenation. Did you know that the American Revolutionary War in America began on April 19, 1775 and that Liberation Day in Italy (the end of Nazi Germany occupation) is celebrated on April 25? Further, Portugal underwent the Carnation Revolution on April 25, 1974, where the Estado Novo dictatorship was overthrown. Lest you think I am advocating for violent forms of spring cleaning, note that the Carnation Revolution occurred with no shots fired and carnation flowers were put into the muzzles of rifles and on the uniforms of the army. You can revolt against the status quo and do so calmly.
The month of April is also about resurrection, or perhaps metamorphosis. On April 8, tomorrow as a matter of fact, it is the traditional date to celebrate the Buddha’s Birthday. April is also the time that many around the world celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. In the month of April there is also St Mark’s Eve, in which the superstition surrounding it states that the ghosts of those who are doomed to die within the year will be seen to pass in a church. Somewhat surprisingly, April Fools’ Day (one of my mom’s favorite days of the year since she would be able to go all out with her pranking stunts) may have been part of the ancient Roman spring festival Hilaria, which celebrates the resurrection of the god Attis who was the god of vegetation. Oddly enough, he was also associated with self-mutilation and castration. That’s definitely a weird form of re-invigoration.
Speaking of celebrations and April 1, that day is also the first day of the Japanese fiscal year and many Japanese companies hold the celebration called Nyushashiki which serves as an “entry” ceremony for new to the business market (newly graduated). What a sweet event. Although, here in the US, there are some companies that have similar celebrations for new employees in that they have them push the beer cart about the office or they are subjected to silly pranks. Have you ever seen the TV show the Office? That’s when revenge also comes into play. With a clear mind and feelings of rejuvenation, one can see where a little bit of payback is in order. That too, is important in moving forward. Is it not? J
The Finns refer to April by the phrase of huhtikuu, which means ‘Burnwood Month’, when wood is felled in order to clear the farmland and to also burn. The discovery of how to make fire for the purpose of burning wood is regarded as one of humanity’s most important advances and the month of April celebrates that all-too important humankind accomplishment. April is all about self-discovery! Take the time to figure out what you need to do to reset timelines and goals. Go out and plant those seeds of personal revolution!