April Fools’ Day, sometimes called All Fools’ Day, is one of the most light-hearted days of the year. Its origins are uncertain. Some see it as a celebration related to the turn of the seasons, while others believe it stems from the adoption of a new calendar.
April Fools’ Day is celebrated every year on 1 April by playing practical jokes and spreading hoaxes. The jokes and their victims are called April fools. People playing April Fool jokes expose their prank by shouting April Fool. Some newspapers, magazines, and other published media report fake stories, which are usually explained the next day or below the news section in small letters. Although popular since the 19th century, the day is not a public holiday in any country.
New Year’s Day Moves
Ancient cultures, including those of the Romans and Hindus, celebrated New Year’s Day on or around April 1. It closely follows the vernal equinox (March 20th or March 21st.) In medieval times, much of Europe celebrated March 25, the Feast of Annunciation, as the beginning of the new year.
In 1582, Pope Gregory XIII ordered a new calendar (the Gregorian Calendar) to replace the old Julian Calendar. The new calendar called for New Year’s Day to be celebrated Jan. 1. That year, France adopted the reformed calendar and shifted New Year’s day to Jan. 1.
Also, April fool spread when Charles IX, following the Gregorian Calendar, decreed January 1, 1562 as the official New Year instead of the end of March/April 1 [Equinoxes]. Individuals who continued to honor… April 1st were teased, ridiculed and played pranks upon.
According to a popular explanation, many people either refused to accept the new date, or did not learn about it, and continued to celebrate New Year’s Day on April 1. Other people began to make fun of these traditionalists, sending them on “fool’s errands” or trying to trick them into believing something false. Eventually, the practice spread throughout Europe
Many see the first day of April as a time to perpetrate pranks, practical jokes and even lies, in the name of “innocent fun.” Every year on April 1st, people around the world celebrate April Fools’ Day. Although customs and traditions differ, a common thread runs through the international celebration of this day.
History does not provide an authoritative source to determine this holiday’s exact basis and origin. Notice the following statement about April Fools’ Day (also known as All Fools’ Day): “Although it has been observed for centuries in several countries, the origin of the custom is unknown. It resembles other festivals, such as the Hilaria of ancient Rome (March 25) and the Holi festival of India (ending March 31). Its timing seems related to the vernal equinox (March 21), when nature ‘fools’ mankind with sudden changes in the weather” (Encyclopedia Britannica). Regardless of its origin, people use April Fools’ Day as an excuse to “play the fool.”
“This must have been too much fun, it spread from France to England and then to the US. Now, it has spread throughout the world and we have a day of havoc for us all to tread and enjoy.
“In France today, April first is called Poisson d’Avril. French children fool their friends by taping a paper fish to their friends’ backs; when the ‘young fools’ discover this trick, the prankster yells ‘Poisson d’Avril!’ (April Fish!) Even though April Fool’s Day is not an official holiday, it is still recognized by many. Most of us are ‘taken in’ at some time or another on April 1” (punctuationtips.com).
By way of background, it is interesting as to how April 1st came to deserve this dubious “honor.”
Now this story, the dates are all in dispute, proving Time may be the best trickster of all”