Was this Season Always Called Spring?

By: Gefen Selchen

It’s spring! But was this season in which the buds start to bloom and the days lengthen always referred to as spring? The answer is no. 

In old English this season was referred to as “lencten,” meaning “the time of lengthening days.”

This then became lent or the lenten season, (lencten is also the origin of Lent, the 40 days before Easter). The focus during this period of time was naming the season for its longer days.

 In the 1300s calling the season “lent” was replaced with “springing time” to recognize how plants spring from the earth. This name was then eventually shortened to just “spring.”

Spring describes an action. The action of dormant plants coming alive again. Whether it is called lencten or lent (meaning the days are lengthening), or spring (meaning the buds are blooming), spring has always been a time of hope and new beginnings.

Works Cited

Bryant, William. “Spring: A Brief History of a Beautiful Word.” Literary Hub, 1 April 2019, https://lithub.com/spring-a-brief-history-of-a-beautiful-word/. Accessed 30 March 2023.

“spring | Etymology, origin and meaning of spring by etymonline.” Online Etymology Dictionary, 23 September 2021, https://www.etymonline.com/word/spring. Accessed 30 March 2023.

“Spring Season – Meaning & Origin.” Dictionary.com, 18 March 2021, https://www.dictionary.com/e/spring-meaning/. Accessed 30 March 2023.

“Vincent van Gogh – Almond Blossom.” Van Gogh Museum, https://www.vangoghmuseum.nl/en/collection/s0176V1962. Accessed 30 March 2023.

Zafarris, Jess. “An Etymology Lesson for the First Day of Spring.” Useless Etymology, 19 March 2020, https://uselessetymology.com/2020/03/19/an-etymology-lesson-for-the-first-day-of-spring/. Accessed 30 March 2023.

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