Primavera (pree-mah-vai-rah) is the first season of the year, spring. Primavera is, for nature and for everyone on Earth, a moment of rebirth. Days are longer, the air is full of scents and the landscape of colors: all it’s new again!
The etymology of the word is not simple to reconstruct, as it may have a linguistically-mixed origin. It is, in any case, formed by two separate words, prima and vere: the first comes from the Latin primus-a-um, an adjective that means, you guessed it, “first;” the second word, however, has a more mysterious origin, as it may come from the Sanskrit root –vas, still present in many Euro-Asian languages, albeit in different forms, with the meaning of “shining bright,” or “burning.”
This etymological theory makes sense, because what is primavera, if not the season when the sun shines bright again and the land burns and bursts with life? And it is with this very metaphor that the first season of the year is usually associated: primavera is the moment when nature awakens after the long sleep of winter and gets ready to offer beauty and food to the world.
In Italian, primavera is also, therefore, associated with all that is synonym with life, with strength and vivacity: la giovinezza è la primavera della vita (“youth is the ‘spring’ of life”) we say. But it’s also possible to experience una seconda primavera, or a “second spring” if, when older, we enjoy a second bout of youthful eagerness to do and achieve.
And if your head is out there with the fairies and you daydream a lot don’t be surprised, you probably senti la primavera, “spring is getting to you,” as we love to say in Italy!
– Questa primavera sarà poco piovosa.
– It is not going to rain much this spring.
– Sei troppo distratto, che ti succede! Senti la primavera?
– Your head is somewhere else. What’s up, are you feeling the spring?
– Non amo molto la primavera. Sono allergico a così tanti fiori!
– I don’t like spring much. I’am allergic to so many flowers!