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Origins of April Fools Day

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Today, April Fools’ day, also commonly known as All Fools’ Day, is the one day of the year when people can pull pranks on others and not feel guilty about it because, well, everyone is doing it. Whether you are pranking your boss, co-workers, friends, or maybe even children, there hopefully will be plenty of laughs. Those that are gullible though may have a long day ahead of them. But where did this silly day come from?

Well there are many different theories surrounding the origins and nobody's quite sure what to believe. The most common one is that it started in 1582 when France changed calendars. Pope Gregory XIII wanted to change from the Julian calendar which celebrated the new year on April 1, to the Gregorian calendar which would have New Year's day on January 1. Those that either did not know about the change or didn’t want to accept the new calendar and continued to celebrate New Year’s Day on April 1 were made fun of. Unfortunately there is no hard evidence that can prove this.

Another theory is that it had to do with the weather. This was seen as the beginning of Spring in the Northern Hemisphere and Mother Nature appeared to be ‘playing tricks’ on people with the unpredictable weather.

Whatever the origins were though, this day is celebrated all over the world. In France the Poisson d’Avril or the “April Fish” is seen as a symbol of someone who is gullible and is often taped to the back of someone. The ancient roman festival “Hilaria” was celebrated as a day of remembering the resurrection of the god Attis. The modern equivalent of this festival is “Roman Laughing Day”.

In India Holi festival usually takes place during this time of year when locals and foreigners come together to joke and throw dye on each other. Scottish call this day Gowkie Day. ‘Gowk’ means cuckoo which is a symbol of a fool. They carry celebrations over to April 2 which is Taily Day where people often tape “kick me” signs on the backs of people. In Brazil they call this day “Dia de Mentira” or “Lie Day”. So wherever you are today, have fun and enjoy this light hearted day. But remember to not believe everything you hear, especially today.

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