(Roman) Ancient: Kal. Apr. (new moon).
April is under the protection of Venus, and some ancient authors derived the month’s name from Aphrodite (perhaps via a conjectured Etruscan form, Aprodita); others derive it from aperire (to open), since it is the time when, according to Cincius and Varro, “fruits and flowers and animals and seas and lands open.”
The Veneralia, on the first day of Venus’ month, honors Venus Verticordia (Changer of Hearts) and Her companion Fortuna Virilis (Bold Fortune). In ancient times all the women, married and unmarried, went to the men’s baths, as today they might go to swimming pools. Upon arriving they offer incense to Fortuna Virilis and pray that the men will not see any blemishes the women might have. They make a libation and drink the potion Venus drank on Her wedding night: pounded poppy with milk and honey. The women, crowned with myrtle wreaths, bathe and pray that Venus will bring them concord and a modest life. Ovid says, “beauty and fortune and good fame are in Her keeping.”
In addition, the women remove the jewelry and other ornaments from the statues of Venus and Fortuna so that they can be washed, after which they are redecorated and adorned with roses (Venus’ flower).