Thursday, March 14, 2013

Beware the ....... Kalends of April

HAH!!!!  You thought I was going to say "Ides of March", didn't you??!!!!

Well that would be rather boring, wouldn't it?  And I hope by now you've come to expect something better than 'boring', from Teapot Musings.  So -- for your entertainment, today, on the Ides of March, I thought I'd share some calendar information with you.

First, as a preliminary matter, we all know that 'ides' is not the plural of 'ide', rather 'ides' just means the fifteenth of the month.  Except that... that's not quite true.  Actually, according to the Roman calendar, the ides was the day of the full moon... in most months that was the 13th, but in a few months - including March - that was the 15th.

No, no, no.. sit back down, there's no need to go check your calendar... as you suspected, the full moon is not the middle of the month, every month, and it's definitely not the 15th of March, 2013.  Don't forget that our current calendar is not version 1, but instead it's something like version 3 or 4...  originally, the calendar year began with March (which explains why September sounds like it should be month 7, October sounds like it should be month 8).... but over time, the calendar was tweaked, and revised, and modified, so that now, the full moon can occur on any day of the month, and some months will have 2 full moons.

But, I digress.  Where was I?

Oh, right, I was going to talk about the kalends of April.  But before I get there, I thought you might like to know that, in addition to the ides, months also had nones.. which were the 7th of each month -except when it was the 5th of the month.  And I'm not making this stuff up.  Apparently, notwithstanding the common notion that the Romans were quite busy, with all of their philosophising, fighting wars, having orgies and banquets, and - well, building Rome -  the Romans clearly had too much time on their hands, so they spent some of it making their calendars as difficult and complicated as possible.

So, we've got ides, we've got nones, and it turns out we also have kalends.  Unlike ides and nones, kalends were always the same day every month, and that was the first day of every month.  Which means that the kalends of April, is April 1, also known as April Fool's Day.

I could have saved this post for April 1st, except I figured no one would believe all this calendar stuff, and would assume it was a joke.  So I'm posting it, today.  And after all, very few of us have run into a fortune teller lately, warning us of the ides of March, so there's really no need to worry today.. but, come the kalends of April...  we all need to watch out.  So, here's your warning.  Beware the kalends of April.  And while you're waiting, go have a cup of tea.


  1. Not only did Romans have too much time on their hands...

  2. I'm wondering if that nice Roman word kalends morphed into our word calendar ... Mirriam Webster on-line says this:

    Origin of CALENDAR
    Middle English calender, from Anglo-French or Medieval Latin; Anglo-French kalender, from Medieval Latin kalendarium, from Latin, moneylender's account book, from kalendae calends
    First Known Use: 13th century

    Looks related to me!