Elaine Flinn

History of April Fools Day

by on Mar.25, 2014, under Uncategorized

April Fools’ Day, sometimes called All Fools’ Day, is one of the most light-hearted days of the full year. Its sources are uncertain. Some see it as a party associated with the change of the times of year, but others believe it originates in the adoption of a new calendar.

New Year’s Day Moves and Changes

Ancient cultures, including those of the Romans and Hindus, celebrated New Year’s Day on or about April 1.

In 1582, Pope Gregory XIII ordered a new calendar (the Gregorian Calendar) to change 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. According to a well-known explanation, a lot of people either refused to just accept the new date, or failed to learn about it, and continued to observe New Year’s Day on April 1. Other people began to make fun of those traditionalists, sending them on “fool’s errands” or attempting to deceive them into believing something false. Eventually, the practice spread throughout Europe.

Difficulties With This Explanation

There are at least two issues with this particular explanation. The foremost is that it does not fully account for the spread of April Fools’ Day to other European countries. The Gregorian calendar was not embraced by England until 1752, for example, but April Fools’ Day was already well established there by that time. The 2nd is that we’ve no direct historical proof for this particular explanation, only conjecture, and that conjecture appears to have now been made more lately.

Constantine and Kugel He clarified the practice started through the reign of Constantine, when a bunch of court jesters and dingbats told the Roman emperor that they could do a much better job of working the empire. Constantine, amused, let a jester named Kugel to be king for just one day. Kugel passed an edict calling for absurdity on that day, and the custom became an annual occasion.

“In a way,” described Prof. Boskin, “it was quite a serious day. In those times idiots were really wise men. It was the character of jesters to place things in outlook with humor.”

This explanation was brought to the public’s curiosity in an Associated Press article printed by many newspapers in 1983. There was just one catch: Boskin made the unit up. It took a couple of weeks for the Associated Press to comprehend they’d been victims of an April Fools’ joke themselves.

Spring Fever

It is worth noting that a variety of cultures have had days of foolishness around the beginning of April, give or consider several weeks. The Romans had a fest named Hilaria on March 2 5, rejoicing in the resurrection of Attis. Maybe there’s something concerning the time of year, with its turn from winter to spring, that gives itself to lighthearted celebrations.

Observances Throughout the World

April Fools’ Day is observed through the Western world. Practices include sending someone on a “fool’s errand,” looking for points that don’t exist; playing pranks; and striving to get folks to believe ridiculous things.

French kids sometimes tape a picture of a fish around the back part of the schoolmates, hollering “Poisson d’Avril” when the joke is discovered.

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