April showers. They bring May flowers, right? It’s a simple two line poem with obscure origins: “April showers bring May flowers”. Does it mean April is the rainy season and May is the beginning of Spring and all the likely new flowers growing in the meadows? Sure. Why not? Widely accepted right?
Possible Alternative Meanings of the phrase, "April Showers Bring May Flowers"
Maybe it’s a bit more playful! After a long cold winter the temperatures begin to rise ever so slightly, and are promising in April. And in medieval England and Europe, misunderstandings about The Plague led people to avoid bathing. Yes, they could go months and months without a bath. (ouch, stinky). There was a fear it could be transferred via the bath water. After all, that layer of months and months of built up dirt and grime might protect you from The Plague. April may have been the best time for that cleansing shower after months of cold, dirty, darkness.
April Showers May Flowers
And May. Not just the flowers in the meadows, lanes, and flower boxes. The flowers of people all around you. Imagine a newly industrial England. Factories. Smoke. Overcrowded apartments. And now it’s May. Your dirt covered neighbors start cleaning up. Water. Baths. Showers. And that young fellow or girl down the street looks and smells a lot better than they did in February. They’re a real flower now!
The phrase also inspired the April Showers song from the 1920’s. Made famous by Al Jolson, it was written by Louis Silvers and B.G. DeSylva. This further inspired parodies from other well know musical artists.
What if April Showers actually referred to some ancient astronomical event? What if an unexplained meteor shower around Stonehenge led to the poem? While widely researched yet seldom understood, there is reasonable evidence that early Stonehenge pioneers often looked to the sky. The Vernal Equinox was a historically significant time each year. Maybe April Meteorite Showers followed this significant event. A sign of flowering spring to come. (Or not). Yep. A bit out-there.
And by the way, since being a “June Bride” is so popular, could the April Shower refers to the Bridal Shower? Hmm . . . seems like really grasping at straws doesn’t it? Of course, if you continue the thought, isn’t a Bride the Flower of the Wedding? And everyone doesn’t wait until June, some get married in May!
Perhaps it’s even a bit more spiritual. April showers. Showers of blessing. The spring time blessings of God upon His people. The newness of the earth each spring and summer. May. Which of course limits it to the Northern Hemisphere.
The origin may really be from Thomas Tusser, 1524-1580 and his work, Five Hundred Points of Good Husbandry.” “Sweet April showers, Do spring May flowers. Forgotten month past, Do now at the last.”
All of this is food for thought. It’s fun to discover the origins of thoughts, poems, and traditions. When all is said and done. This one is likely left to the understanding of a child. “April Showers Bring May Flowers.” From a child. “Daddy, you're so silly. It means when it rains in April we’ll have pretty flowers in May!”