Almost every year this firm publishes an April Fools’ article to get folks laughing and take their minds off the daily grind. Last year, due to the morose state of the world, we did not feel it was appropriate to publish such an article; this year, although things are much better, we are still struggling with the appropriateness of publishing an April Fools’ article. As a compromise, this year’s April Fools’ article is focused on the history and origin of this silly “holiday”.
Although nobody is completely sure of the origin of this holiday, historians speculate the holiday goes all the way back to 1582 when France switched from the Julian calendar to the Gregorian calendar. In the Julian calendar, the new year began on April 1st, but in the Gregorian calendar, the new year commenced on January 1st.
Since instant communication was non-existent in 1582, many people did not receive news of the calendar change for quite some time and continued celebrating the new year in April. These individuals became the butts of many jokes and hoaxes and were fondly referred to as “April fools”.
The United Kingdom also started celebrating this holiday during the 18th century, but decided to make it a two-day event. Currently, however, hoaxes in the UK stop midday, and any person attempting to play a trick on another after midday, is considered an “April fool” him/herself.
Clearly, the tradition has continued and flourished to modern-day when we often play tricks and practical jokes on others and yell “April fool” at the end so the subject realizes he/she is the target.
The author hopes you enjoyed this little tidbit of history and that it helps you next time you play Trivial Pursuit. Stay tuned next year for the 2022 April Fools’ article!