Fools are born every month of the year, and not just in April. It’s funny that people thought there needed to be a dedicated day of the year to celebrate foolishness. So came April 1st when everyone takes turns in playing practical jokes on each other trying to make them look stupid. How it really came about, one can only speculate based on the many stories that have been circulating among the human population for the past few centuries.
Ancient civilizations like Rome and Indus Valley, followed the Julian calender or similar ancient calendars that began around April 1st. When the Gregorian Calendar was introduced by Pope Gregory XIII in 1582, traditionalists and people who didn’t hear about change continued honor New Year’s day on April 1st. The practice of pranking began here, as other people often played tricks on the unwitting traditionalists sending them on fool’s errands on the day.
My favorite story, also one which makes most sense, narrates a tale of the Roman festival of Hilaria (root of English word hilarity). In Ancient Rome, April 1st was the day celebrated for the resurrection of the god Attis. Today it is known as the Roman Laughing Day.
Another version was provided by Professor Joseph Boskin from the Boston University. When Constantine was in power, a group of court jesters light-heartedly joked and told the emperor that they could do a better job of running the Empire. Amused by the suggestion, Constantine allowed Kugel, one of the jesters, to be king for a day. When he assumed power for that limited time, Kugel passed an edict calling for absurdity throughout the day. The custom then became an annual event. (PS: The story was made up by Boskin as an April Fool’s prank).
We’ll probably never know the true origin story of April Fool’s Day, but we do know that this world is filled with so much foolishness that it does deserve a day of celebration. How is this different from Halloween? There’s no pressure to dress up or buy treats. It’s all tricks!
This is for the AtoZ Blog Challenge.