The History of April Fool's Day

February 23, 2012
Do we ever really think about how the peculiar and comical tradition of April Fool’s Day started? Most people associate April Fool’s Day with minor pranks such as taping signs to another kids back or switching someone’s toothpaste with glue. It never occurs to us how April Fool’s Day originated from a certain point in history. To fully comprehend this holiday, we must understand how it originated, what the different parts of it are, how many different countries celebrate it, and why it is important to teens everywhere.

This holiday appears in many countries around the globe, but it is believed that it started with France. New Year’s Day was originally March 25-April 1. This changed after the Gregorian Calendar was created and New Year’s Day became January 1. In 1582, the communication wasn’t as efficient as it is today. Those close to France were able to receive this news much sooner than those further away. For some people, the news of the switched date for New Year’s Day didn’t reach them for several years. This slow communication caused the people to blunder and created this bizarre holiday.

A small percentage of the populace rejected this new date and continued to celebrate New Year’s on its original date. The general populace ridiculed them and labeled these people “fools”. The ridicule extended into “fool errands”, invitations to non-existent parties, and other practical jokes. These pranks continued and became a regular event on April 1.

This tradition spread to other countries including England, Rome, India, Scotland, and Mexico. In England, the custom is to pull pranks only in the morning before noon. If you pull a prank after noon, you supposedly have bad luck. April Fool’s Day is known as the Festival of Hilaria in Rome. This celebration is based around the resurrection of their gods, Attis. The concept of this holiday is the same, but the “Roman Laughing Day” or Festival of Hilaria is actually celebrated March 25. India marks this occasion with the Huli Festival, which is celebrated March 31. During this festival, the populace does play practical jokes, but there is one major difference. The people also smear paint on one another to celebrate the coming of spring. The celebration in Scotland lasts two days. The kick me signs can be traced back to Scotland because this is how they celebrate the second day of April Fool’s Day. Mexico’s version of April Fool’s Day on December 28 is for remembering the children killed by King Herod. Pranks and practical jokes are involved.

For some teens, the planning has already begun for the ultimate pranks and practical jokes. This day gives every teenager the chance to be silly, while not being reprimanded for it. It isn’t just us teens that take part in this merriment. The adults like to have their own fair share of fun. Everyone has one day to be creative, enjoy a few laughs, and shout out “April Fool’s”! Personally, this holiday is even more interesting. April Fool’s happens to be my birthday and there are always a few small practical jokes at my expense. I participate anyway because I know that it makes everyone happy and that is what April Fool’s is all about.

There is so much more to April Fool’s Day than just a few pranks. Each country celebrates the unique holiday of April Fool’s Day in their own way. They are all linked together by how it all began and the practical jokes that are played. The entire purpose of this frivolous celebration is to have fun, be creative, and share a day of laughs with people you know.





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