Reminder for today – your best friend’s not pregnant, your sister isn’t engaged, and your mom didn’t really buy a racehorse.
Today is April Fool’s Day, the pranksters favorite holiday. Social media being what it is, we’re all in for a lot of fictitious announcements, misleading status updates, and fabricated headlines over the next several hours. Wanting to know where all this whackiness began, we did a little digging into the background of the 1st of April.
Seems that no one really knows the exact origins of the holiday but several viable theories float around the historical milieu. What seems like the most dominant theory is that in 1582 when France switched from the Julian to the Gregorian calendar, the start of the new year moved from a celebration that started March 25th and ended on April 1st, to the current new year’s day, January 1st. Those slow to make the change or resistant to the newfangled calendar and who continued to mark the new year at the beginning of April would be the butt of practical jokes and mocked as fools or “poisson d’avril” – April Fish – a reference that refers to a young, easily caught fish.
Other prevalent theories are that the day is tied to the vernal equinox in the Northern Hemisphere, when mother nature fools us with fickle and unpredictable weather or tie the holiday to the Ancient Roman festival of Hilaria, which was celebrated at the end of March with jokes, parades, and revelers disguising themselves in costumes. And some just posit that the onset of spring makes us all go a little soft in the head…
Whatever the real story is, plenty of us will still be caught at some point today even despite this caution. Fair warning to all you would-be-gagmen though – superstition has it that one only has until noon on April 1st to tease and prank and torture. Any tomfoolery after that hour brings bad luck to the jokester.