According to various sources, April Fools’ Day, also called All Fools’ Day, has been celebrated for several centuries by different cultures, its exact origins remain a mystery.
Some historians speculate that April Fools’ Day dates back to 1582, when France switched from the Julian calendar to the Gregorian calendar, as called for by the Council of Trent in 1563.
People who were slow to get the news or failed to recognize that the start of the new year had moved to January 1 and continued to celebrate it during the last week of March through April 1 became the butt of jokes and hoaxes.
These pranks included having paper fish placed on their backs and being referred to as “poisson d’avril” (April fish), said to symbolize a young, easily caught fish and a gullible person. [https://www.history.com/topics/holidays/april-fools-day]
According to Dictionary.com, another theory suggests that April 1st became the fool’s holiday due to Geoffrey Chaucer’s 14th century collection, The Canterbury Tales, wherein Chaucer includes a playful reference to “32 March,” or April 1st. However, most scholars consider it to have been a mere copying error.
The holiday also shares some striking similarities to some long-running antecedents, including the Indian festival of Holi, which ends on March 31st, as well as the ancient Roman festival, Hilaria, held on March 25th.
Where does the apostrophe go?
Technically, the fool in April Fools’ Day is plural … there are a lot people becoming fools on this day. But, the non-standard spelling April Fool’s Day is fairly common and isn’t technically incorrect either.
April fools across the world
Yup, April Fools’ Day is celebrated around the world. Because who doesn’t like playing a friendly prank on their loved ones …. Here are some examples:
In France, the fooled party is called the poisson d’avril, which literally means “April fish.” France’s customary prank involves pinning a paper fish (also called the poisson d’avril) to a friend’s back.
In Scotland, April Fools’ Day is called Hunt the Gowk Day—gowk is another name for the cuckoo, which is a common symbol of the fool. The gowkie pranks continue into April 2, Tailie Day, when celebrants traditionally attach a “paper tail” (or a “kick me” sign) to their friends’ backs.
Brazil celebrates April 1 as Dia da Mentira, or “Lie Day,” in which people try to fool their loved ones. For comedic effect, of course.
It’s similar to the previously mentioned Indian festival of Holi, observed in late March, during which people celebrate the coming of Spring by festively throwing colored powder and water on one another. One Holi tradition is strikingly similar to the ancient European celebration or the Feast of Fools, where people would playfully trade caste, status, gender, and age roles for one day each year.
No matter where you live, the beginning of spring marks a time of lighthearted jesting around the world. Summer is coming. [https://www.dictionary.com/e/fool/]
Compiled by Mkarimu Media. – April Fools Day!