April Fools’ Day, which is sometimes called All Fools’ Day, is one of the most light-hearted days of the year and is celebrated in many countries on April 1st every year. It is widely recognized and celebrated as a day when people play practical jokes and hoaxes on each other.
The history of April Fool’s Day is not totally clear. Some believe it evolved from celebrations involving the first day of spring. Others believe that in around 1582 when New Year’s Day was moved to January 1st, many people refused to accept the new calendar and continued to celebrate the New Year on April 1st. These folk were labelled as “fools” by the general populace. They were subject to some ridicule, and were often sent on “fool’s errands” or were made the butt of other practical jokes.
The earliest concrete records we have about 1st April are from France and Holland in the 1500s and, because of this, people believe that it must have been a northern European tradition that spread to Britain. It is actually known as April Fish Day in some areas of Europe. People think this is because there are a lot of fish in French streams and rivers around 1st April, and they are easy to catch – foolish fish! So it soon became a tradition to play tricks on people on April 1st too. It is still a common trick in France, and elsewhere in Europe, to attach a paper fish to somebody’s back on April Fools’ Day, and also to give chocolate fish as gifts. In France and several other European countries, April 1st is often referred to as April Fish. The prank is to stick a paper fish on the back of another person without being noticed.
The tradition ventually spread to England and Scotland in the eighteenth century. It was later introduced to the merican colonies of both the English and French. April Fool’s Day thus developed, with different nationalities specializing in their own brand of humour at the expense of their friends and families. In Scotland, for example, April Fool’s Day is actually celebrated for two days. The second day is devoted to pranks involving the posterior region of the body. It is called Taily Day. The origin of the “kick me” sign can be traced to this observance.
Last year the North Yorkshire Moors Railway said it had created a train carriage dedicated just to dogs, but it was just a joke much to the sadness of dog lovers and train enthusiasts alike.
In Boston signs were put up in the park warning people not to photograph sculptures as the light emitting from the carmera phones were causes the sculptures to erode.
So it appears we don’t actually know for sure where April Fools’ Day officially started. But one thing’s for sure – people have been playing jokes on April 1st for a very long time!
Did you fall victim to someone’s prank this year or did you manage to catch your friends out????