Monday, April 1, 2013

April Fools' Day

When, where, and how did April Fools' Day begin? Apparently, no one is absolutely certain. It might have happened when the Gregorian Calendar took effect in 1582, changing New Year's Day from April 1 to January 1. The term itself may have originated in France in 1582 or 1584. Some people insisted on celebrating the “old” New Year and they came to be known as April fools. It became a common phenomenon to play tricks and jokes on them. The general concept of having a day when people play jokes and tricks on others is, however, an ancient one. The ancient Romans had such a day, the Hilaria festival of March 25. And the Holi festival was celebrated in India on March 31. The medieval monasteries even had a celebration when the bishop was replaced for one day by a common monk, who could order his superiors to do the most ridiculous tasks. The custom of playing April Fools' jokes was likely brought to America by the British. As grade-school students in Canada, I remember we liked it when April Fools’ Day fell on a school day. It was great fun to tell the other kids some piece of “believable news” and then laugh and say “April Fools!” Today, my right hip is getting replaced and that is NOT an April Fools’ joke. Thank you for your good wishes!

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