For as long as I can remember April 1st was always “All Fool’s Day”. And for just as long the first of April was a day to play pranks on other’s (or get pranked). But where did this strange tradition stem from? Why is this unofficial “Holiday” so integrated into our culture, and why do we just blindly play along without much question?
The answer lies yet again in the (“murky”) past and it may not be just one thing, but elements of many things that shaped this “foolish” day to what it is now.
Now turn your watch back, about seven hundred years! Observed by various different cultures many sources are still not quite sure of the true origin of the day of “All Fools” day. Now chief among the legends is that in France back in 1582, when they changed over from the Julian calendar to the Gregorian calendar (which we still use in modern times) people were very slow in getting the news of the change over, and still observed the new year on April 1st instead of January 1st and were the targets of ridicule, hoaxes and jokes.
Many pranks were played on people during this day (and even two days in a row) such as placing handmade fishes made of paper on each-others backs, which was referred to as “Poisson d’avril” or April Fish which signified a person very dumb and easy to fool person.
As this tradition spread across Scotland and Great Britain on this day, “foolish” people were sent on fake errands and others would attach or pin “kick me” signs on peoples back sides, which is still practiced today. They are other legends, but they are so “foolish” in nature I will not repeat them here because they are very unlikely to have anything to do with the how and why of this day.
Whatever the origin of April 1st “tom foolery” it’s still a lot of fun (as long as no one gets hurt) and many a clever joke or prank can and has left us on the floor splitting our sides with laughter!
With all this being said……..Happy Pranking guys!