APRIL FOOLS DAY – April 2007

marywebBy Mary Tucker

Unlike most other non-foolish holidays, the history of April Fools Day is unclear. I found several thoughts on how April Fools Day, sometimes known as All Fools Day, came to be.

Some believe it evolved from several cultures’ celebrations of spring. The year 1582 may be the beginning of this tradition. Under the Julian Calendar the new year was celebrated from March 25 to April 1. With the adoption of the Gregorian Calendar New Years Day was moved to January 1. Many did not accept the new calendar and continued to celebrate on April 1; others simply forgot. These “backward folks” were labeled fools and were subjected to ridicule, sent on “fools errands” and made the butt of practical jokes.

It was thought to commemorate the fruitless mission of the rook (European Crow} who was sent from Noah’s Ark to search for land, an impossible task since the ark was surrounded by water on all sides.

April Fools Day ties in Hilaria, the Roman celebration of winter’s end and the end of the Celtic New Years festival in which superstitions were spread and pranks played.

And last, with the arrival of spring Mother Nature “fools” mankind with fickle weather.

Prank playing was introduced to English and French American colonies in the eighteenth century. April Fools Day developed into an international funfest with countries having their own brand of humor. In Scotland pranks involve the posterior part of the body. The day is called TAILLY DAY: the “Kick Me” sign can be traced to this observance. April Fools pranks range from simple (saying your shoes are untied) to elaborate (setting a roommate’s clock to the wrong time, playing day-long practical jokes on friends and family). Even the media gets involved at times. A British short film shown on April Fools Day, was a detailed documentary about “spaghetti farmers” and how they harvest the crop from spaghetti trees. The BBC was jammed with 250 calls inquiring about where to watch the harvest and where plants were sold.

April Fools Day is a for-fun only day. You are not expected to buy gifts or eat out in a fancy restaurant. No one gets off work or school. It’s just a fun little holiday on which you must be alert all day or you may be the next APRIL Fool!!! ~