Writing tips for April holidays and events

Spring has sprung and April has begun. Here’s a list of events and holidays to keep your eye on this month.

April: National Arab American Heritage Month

Capitalize “National Arab American Heritage Month,” which is celebrated in April: “The commercial honored National Arab American Heritage Month.” It’s officially recognized by some states and federal departments.

April 1: April Fools’ Day

The proper formatting is “April Fools’ Day,” which is on April 1: “The students thought they didn’t have class on April 1, but it turned out to be an April Fools’ Day prank.”

April 2: World Autism Awareness Day

World Autism Awareness Day is on April 2 and raises awareness for people on the autism spectrum. It is capitalized in all uses.

April 5: Qingming Festival

Use “Qingming Festival” to refer to the annual Chinese festival. It usually falls in early April, and people spend the day cleaning the tombs of their ancestors. It’s also called Tomb Sweeping Day and Pure Brightness Festival.

April 5–April 13: Passover

Capitalize “Passover” in all uses: “She went home to celebrate Passover with her family.” Passover, which is celebrated annually, commemorates the story of the Israelites’ escape from slavery and departure from ancient Egypt.

April 7: Good Friday

Capitalize “Good Friday,” which is the Friday before Easter, when Christians commemorate the crucifixion of Jesus Christ: “She took off Good Friday in addition to the Monday after Easter.”

April 9: Easter

Capitalize “Easter,” the Christian holiday marking the resurrection of Jesus Christ: “He doesn’t usually go to church, but he’s going this Easter Sunday.” The date of Easter varies each year, but it is always on a Sunday in March or April.

April 18: Tax Day

Capitalize “Tax Day,” which typically falls on April 15. This year, however, the deadline for filing federal tax returns is April 18 for most taxpayers, since April 15 falls on a weekend.

April 20: 4/20

Use “4/20” to refer to the date largely associated with cannabis use: “The dispensary had a big sale to mark 4/20.”

“Marijuana” and “cannabis” are often used interchangeably, but marijuana is technically the flower of the cannabis plant. However, you may want to avoid using “marijuana” altogether due to its racist history and instead consider an alternative such as “cannabis” or “weed” when appropriate. Don’t capitalize any of the terms: “Her mom smoked pot well into her 70s.”

“THC” is short for tetrahydrocannabinol, the active ingredient in the drug, and is acceptable on first reference. “CBD,” short for cannabidiol, is another component of weed, though it does not produce a high. “CBD” is acceptable on first reference: “CVS has begun selling CBD oil.”

April 22: Earth Day

Capitalize Earth Day, which is on April 22 and marks the start of the environmental movement in the U.S. Eco-conscious needs a hyphen.

A reminder that while you can use the terms “climate change” and “global warming” interchangeably, “climate change” includes a wider array of the effects of human actions on the environment. Some news organizations are opting for the term “climate crisis” to better convey the gravity of the situation.

And while some people continue to deny the effects of climate change, they are not up for debate in the reputable scientific community. In other words, climate change is not a “two sides” story, so put comments from politicians and other prominent figures in the proper context. Always make sure your audience knows the scientific consensus, instead of just various opinions on the issue.

April 28: Arbor Day

Capitalize “Arbor Day,” which is typically observed in the United States on the last Friday in April, though some states use a different date: “The city encouraged residents to plant a tree for Arbor Day.”

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