April Fools Day
April Fools' Day
On no other holiday is fun celebrated like it is on April Fools' Day. From simple to elaborate, the harmless tricks and pranks played on April 1 signal a break from the seriousness of daily life. While not an official holiday, April Fools' Day is enjoyed in many parts of the world. Whether you are a fan of the day or not, you must be on your guard, or may find yourself the unwitting recipient of a trickster's prank!
Origins of April Fools' Day
Although April Fools' Day, also known as All Fools Day, is celebrated in different ways throughout the world, it is unknown exactly how the tradition originated. There are a few theories however. Some cultures recognized it as the first day of spring, celebrating with general merriment and feasting. Some calendars recognized it the first day of the new year. The Feast of Fools was a term given to many medieval festivals celebrated during the 15th and 16th Centuries in Europe.
Ancient cultures, including those of the Romans and Hindus, celebrated New Year's Day on or around April 1, which closely follows the vernal equinox (March 20th or March 21st). The Romans had a festival named Hilaria on March 25, rejoicing in the resurrection of Attis. The Hindu calendar has Holi, and the Jewish calendar has Purim. Perhaps there's something about the time of year, with its turn from winter to spring, that lends itself to lighthearted celebrations.
Today, April Fools' Day is observed throughout the Western world. Practices include sending someone on a "fool's errand," looking for things that don't exist; playing pranks; and trying to get people to believe ridiculous things. The French call April 1 Poisson d'Avril, or "April Fish." French children sometimes tape a picture of a fish on the back of their schoolmates, crying "Poisson d'Avril" when the prank is discovered. This custom has spread across Europe and many European April Fools' Day cards feature pictures of fish.