April Fools’ Day – How did it all start
April Fools’ Day – also called All Fools’ Day – is one of the most light-hearted days of the year, though the origins are uncertain. Some may see it as a celebration related to the turn of the seasons, while others believe it comes from the adoption of a new calendar.
Ancient cultures, including those of the Romans and Hindus, celebrated New Year's Day on or around April 1. 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 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. According to a widespread exposition, many people either refused to accept the new date, or simply 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.
Additionally, It is worth noting that many different cultures have had days of foolishness around the start of April, give or take a couple of weeks. The Romans had a festival named Hilaria on March 25, rejoicing in the resurrection of Attis. The Hindu calendar has Holi, and the Jewish calendar has Purim. Perhaps there is something about the time of year, with its turn from winter to spring, that lends itself to cheerful, humorous celebrations.
April Fools' Day is observed throughout the Western world. Practices include sending someone on a "fool's errand”, looking for things that don't exist; playing pranks; and trying to get people to believe ludicrous things.
The French call April 1 Poisson d'Avril, or "April Fish." French children sometimes tape a picture of a fish on the back of their schoolmates, crying "Poisson d'Avril" when the prank is discovered.
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