Ms Massengill’s students report on the history of April Fools Day

The History of April Fools Day
By Lily Junell

This year, April Fools Day will take place Sunday, April 1st. April Fools Day can also be called “All Fools’ Day.” April Fools day is a well-known holiday where people play jokes on each other and then say things along the lines of “April fools!” or “I’m innocent! It was a joke.” It actually has a long history, dating back to the early 1500s. Some people believe it began when the Gregorian calendar took over from the Julian calendar, and the New Year went from April 1st to January 1st. Those who forgot and tried to celebrate New Year’s were teased and called “April fools.” Other people think other things are its origin, like the Romans’ end-of-winter celebration, Hilaria, the Vernal Equinox, the end of the Celtic new year festival, and Noah (Noah’s Ark) sending the dove to find dry land before the waters subsided. There is a
superstition that the joking times expire at noon on the 1st and any jokes past that time bring bad luck to the joker, and also that if one doesn’t respond with good humor to the jokes they will get bad luck. In Scotland, the April fool is called an April gowk, which translates to cuckoo. The Scottish also had a prank
about harvesting spaghetti, showing videos of happy peasant women harvesting spaghetti. The length of the spaghetti was explained as a result of a lot of dedicated cultivation. In France, the fool is called a “poisson d’avril” which means an April fish. The French insist that all such pranks include or reference a fish. It is popular there to ask someone to hold the line in a phone call, and then return and ask if there’d been any bites. It is also popular to trick the victim into calling a fish shop or local aquarium. In Ireland, it was traditional to entrust the fool with a letter to give to a named person. The named person would ask the victim to take it to someone else. When the letter is finally opened, it says “send the fool further.” These trends have been around for a while, so maybe you can create some long-lasting trends too!

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