A Short History of April Fools’ Day
With a touch of anxiety and sheepish laughter, we are all waiting for the 1st day of April, wondering whether we’ll be the victims of some nasty hoax or practical joke this year. To take it lightly, let’s find out A Short History of April Fools’ Day!
Across the world – especially in Europe and the USA – the 1st of April is fraught with laughter and merriment – or it used to be – as the day when people are allowed to make pranks and play practical jokes on their fellows and (at least in theory) not be judged for that. Nobody is allowed to get upset, after all, that’s the deal. But where did this all start?
In the 1700s, in England, pranksters decided their “art” should be celebrated at least once a year. So they established “All Fool’s Day”, also known as “April Fools’ Day”. But actually the roots of the event are older.
In 1582, France changed the Julian calendar into the Gregorian one. But there were no TVs or Internet back then to popularize the day efficiently, so people who were slow to get the news still celebrated the end of the year at the end of March, all through April 1st, not on January 1st. They became the victims of jokes and hoaxes from the others.
The fish, a symbol of April Fools’, dates back to those days. Pranksters used to glue paper fish on the backs of their victims, calling out “poisson d’avril” (which means April fish). Why the fish? Because it stood for a gullible, easy to catch guy.
The celebration spread throughout Europe and the world in the coming centuries. Europeans’ immigrating to America helped turn April Fools’ into an international success. Don’t believe all you hear on the news on April 1st either. The medias have a prankster fame too: the BBC in 1957 reported a record crop of spaghetti in Switzerland, showing farmers collecting noodles directly from the trees. Believe it or not, many believed it.
Anyway, have a happy April Fools’ Day!