"April Fools, you're a Fool. Now, everyone knows that you're a fool."
That's what I use to yell out when I was kid when I played a joke on someone on April 1st. I never really understood what I it all meant. I did a bit of research to see if anyone knows what it all means or why we do it.
April's Fools' Day is sometimes called All Fools' Day. It's celebrated annually, around the world, by playing jokes or hoaxes. The victims are called April Fools. History books are vague on why we celebrate this as a holiday, but it is one of the most fun and light-hearted of all the holidays. Well, unless you're the fool.
Some historians believe that April Fool's Day began because the calendar changed. In 1582, Pope Gregory XIII ordered a new calendar - The Gregorian calendar to replace the old Julian calendar.
With the new Gregorian calendar, all celebrations for New Year's Day, fell on January 1st.
That year, France adopted the reformed Gregorian calendar, but many refused to accept it or lived in rural areas and didn't hear about it and continued to celebrate the traditional Julian New Year's Day on April 1st. Other people began to make fun of them by sending them on "Fool's errands" or tricking them to believe in something false.
During Spring many cultures had "Days of foolishness," most times in April. In the Middle Ages, New Year's fell somewhere near March 25th. The towns would hold a week long festival called, "Feast of Annuciation," ending on April 1st.
In Scotland, April Fools' is called, "Huntigowk Day." Hunt the Gowk - Gowk is Scot for cuckoo or Foolish person.
In Rome, the holiday is known as Festival of Hilaria, celebrating the resurrection of the god Attis, on March 25 and is also referred to as "Roman Laughing Day."
The Hindu celebrated "Holi" and Jewish - "Purim."
The French celebrated "Poisson d'Avril" (April Fish). Children would tape pictures of fish on a schoolmate's back. Yelling, "Poisson d'Avril!" When the prank is discovered. That reminds me of when I was in school and kids put the post-it note on a unsuspecting kid's back, that read, "Kick Me!" So, maybe middle school pranks were steeped in a long French history of Poisson d'Avril.
Another story on the creation on April's Fool came during Emperor Constantine's era. A group of Jesters convinced Constantine to make one of them King for a day. So tickled with the idea of a fool for a King, Constantine agreed. The jester, Kugel, became King for the day, and he decreed that "Today, April 1st will be a day of frivolity and joy." Thus creating April Fools' Day.
This April Fools' explanation was printed in many newspapers as an AP article in 1983. The only catch, Prof. Boskin made the whole thing up. It took a couple of weeks before the papers realized they were the victims of an April Fools' joke themselves. But, I like this explanation the best, so much more fun.
Have fun today - try not to be the fool.