Ephemera: The month of April 2016: Here’s a brief overview of the month ahead, highlighting some astronomical events, and special days to celebrate and/or think about.
4 April: Martin Luther King Junior murdered in 1968.
7 April: New moon in the constellation of Pisces.
“It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.” 1984, George Orwell
10 April: Bananas, never seen before in England, went on sale for the first time, in a London shop in 1633.
15 April: The start of the new Celtic tree month: The month of Willow.
April hath put a spirit of youth in everything. Sonnet XCVIII, William Shakespeare
16 April: The feast day of Saint Withburga, who passed on, on this day in 974 AD.
Withburga was the youngest daughter of the King of the East Angles (now East Anglia), and she is renowned for founding a monastery. Having used the last of her money on building it, she was anxious about food for herself and others, and prayed about it. In a dream, she dreamed that the Virgin Mary visited her and told her not to be concerned. The next morning, upon waking, two roe deer were found near the monastery, and these provided a superabundance of milk. An official from Dereham, ‘a man of trickery’, sought to steal the deer, but on the morning when he planned to execute the foul deed, his horse ran into a fence, and a sharp stake pierced the official, who fell backwards and broke his neck. Consequently, the roe deer milk continued for the benefit of all.
21 April: Student protest at Tiananmen Square in 1989.
22 April: The Lyrids meteor shower peak today. Look for them in the constellation of Lyra, and especially look toward the bright star Vega to see them. From the UK the constellation may be too near the horizon to see much of the Lyrids.
22 April: Full moon in Libra. Depending on where you are on the planet and at what time you look, today, the Full moon’s light might make the Lyrids meteor shower rather lack-lustre.
This month’s full moon is known as the Growing Moon to latter-day (and ancient) Celts . Others may know it as the Awakening moon, and in medieval times it was known as the Egg moon or Seed moon.
24 April: The feast day of Saint Egbert of Iona, who passed on, on this day in 729 AD.
Egbert was a Northumbrian monk from Lindisfarne. He was responsible for persuading other monks to adopt Roman liturgical practices, and, indeed, on the day of his death, Easter was celebrated at Iona for the first time according to the reckoning established by the Council of Nicea.
“The sun was warm but the wind was chill. You know how it is with an April day.” Robert Frost.