28 January 2013
The History of April Fools Day
I. Most of us know April 1st as a lighthearted day where it is acceptable to play silly jokes and try to fool your friends, but few know what April Fools Day is really about and why such an usual holiday is celebrated around the world. A. The exact origin is still a mystery, but the earliest known explanation took place in France over 400 years ago. 1. It is also unknown how this holiday spread to other countries. 2. It is interesting to see how different cultures celebrate it. B. Today I’m going to share with you the background of this crazy holiday, explain the cultural differences in the way the day is celebrated around the world, and enlighten you with some of the worlds’ best pranks that have been played on this day. II. The earliest explanation to the start of April Fools Day dates back to 1582 when Pope Gregory XIII (13th) moved the start of the new year to January 1st. Until the 16th century, the French celebrated New Year in the spring with an 8 day festival beginning on March 25 and ending on April 1st when people would exchange gifts. C. News traveled slowly back then, so some citizens didn’t get the memo that there was a new date for the New Year. Others refused to accept the change, and continued to celebrate in the spring (Kwasney). 3. Those still celebrating, for whatever reason, were labeled “April fools.” These people were the center of practical jokes, sent on fools errands, or even invited to non-existent New Years parties. (Tate & Tanenbaum). 4. Those who were fooled were called poissons d'Avril, which means "April fish." a. The reason behind this was because fish, such as those that hatch in April, are easy to catch and “April fish” are easy to catch with silly tricks (Kwasney). b. Children would try to discreetly tape a paper fish to the back of the...