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The Origin of April Fool's Day

Updated on June 27, 2011

How April Fool's Day Came to be

April Fool's Day, or All Fool's Day as it used to be called , is a day to play pranks and silly games on friends and family. It is not a major holiday to be celebrated. The pranks and games played are all in fun and not meant to be harmful to anyone. Although no one really knows the true history of April Fool's Day, let's look back through history to learn the theories associated with this fun filled day.

There are many different opinions on how April Fool's Day came about. Some people think it started in the year 1582 in France with the reclaim of the calendar under Charles IX. Others believe it started when the date of New Year's Day was changed from April 1st to January 1st. The original New Year's Day was March 25th but since Holy Week is celebrated starting on March 25th New Year's Day was moved to be celebrated on April 1st. Then they changed New Year's Day from April 1st to January 1st when France reclaimed the new calendar. However, most people would either forget about New Year's Day being moved to January 1st or refused to celebrate it on the new date and therefore would get pranks and jokes played on them and were called Fools. Sounds like a funny theory to me!

Yet another theory as to how April Fool's Day came about is that with Spring starting in March , the weather played “pranks” on us by changing from warm to cold and from sunny to snowing. I am leaning toward this theory since the weather in March does play “tricks” on us.

No one really knows the true origin of April Fool's Day but the pranks and silly games have evolved over the years. There is a superstition that states that everyone who is playing pranks on others must be done playing jokes and pranks by noon on April 1st. If they do not go by this rule, they will have bad luck for many years to come. Another fun superstition is if a girl plays a prank on a boy then they will either get married or have a long lasting relationship.

In the early history of April Fool's Day it was a tradition to send people on impossible errands and for some to place kick me signs on others backs as a joke.

Other countries like to get in the spirit of April Fool's Day as well. For example, in England jokes are played in the morning and is the country that goes by the superstition that it is bad luck to play pranks on others after noon on April 1st. The Fools in England are called gobs or gobby and the victim of the prank is called noodle.

The Roman's also celebrate this prank filled holiday but call it The Roman Laughing Day or The Festival of Hilaria. Roman Laughing Day or the Festival of Hilaria is celebrated on March 25th and is used to celebrate the resurrection of the God Attis.

The Portugese also celebrate April Fool's Day but it falls on a Sunday or Monday and is celebrated by throwing flour at their friends.

April Fool's Day to the people of India is referred to as the Huli Festival and is celebrated on March 31st They celebrate it by playing jokes on each other, smearing paint on each other and celebrating the arrival of Spring.

Mexico also celebrates April Fool's Day but on December 28th. It was originally a day of remembrance of the children who were slaughtered by King Herod, however, it evolved into a day of pranks and tricks.

April Fool's Day is a simple and fun holiday meant to have fun by playing pranks and jokes on each other. No one takes the day off from work or school and no one buys gifts on this simple holiday. It is just a fun day to laugh and play silly, harmless jokes. However, be careful because you may be the next April Fool!


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    • mommytalks profile image

      mommytalks 7 years ago from Phoenix, AZ

      I love stuff like this. Thanks for the info.