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Today is April 1st which makes it April Fools’ Day. April Fools’ Day is also widely known as All Fool’s Day and it is observed worldwide. It is a day of practical jokes, pranks and tricks. In recent years, some newspapers, magazines, and other published media report fake stories, which are usually explained the next day or below the news section in small letters. Even though this day has been popular since the 19th century, it is not observed as an official public holiday in any country.
Even though there is no documented history of the origins of April Fools’ Day, the most common theory is that it began in 1582 when Pope Gregory XIII issued a decree setting forth a standardized calendar for Christian Europe which mostly had been using the Julian calendar. This calendar would later take his name (the Gregorian calendar) and would eventually become the international standard.
Among other changes, the adoption of the new calendar moved New Year’s Day from April 1st on the Julian calendar to January 1st on the Gregorian calendar. Given the slow travel of far reaching news communication, as well as rejection of the change entirely by some, some Europeans continued to celebrate the New Year between March 25 and April 1. April Fools were those who still celebrated the holiday in the spring, and were the subject of pranks and ridicule by those who observed the New Year months ago.
Another theory is that it was started by the Ancient Romans. It is known through recorded history that they celebrated a day of playing practical jokes one another another around the time of the Vernal Equinox, or first day of Spring.
Other cultures celebrate the day, but it is known by other names. In the Persian culture, the day is known as Sizdahbedar. In Scotland, April Fools’ Day was originally called Huntigowk Day. In Poland, it is known by the Latin name for April 1st, which is prima aprilis. In Italy, France, Belgium, and French-speaking areas of Switzerland and Canada, the April 1st tradition is often known as April fish, where pranksters attempt to attach a paper fish to the victim’s back without being noticed.
Although it is celebrated about a month earlier, in India they celebrate day that is called Holi and it is a colorful Hindi festival that is celebrated by people playing jokes and throwing colorful dyes on each other.
Personally, I am not one who likes to be a prankster and I definitely do not like being pranked. I find April Fools’ Day to usually be full of immature attempts at poor humor which usually isn’t very funny at all to the “victim.” Therefore it is a day that I do not participate in. So there you have it. Now you know the most likely beginnings and a little bit of history about April Fools’ Day. I hope that YOU don’t get pranked today! 🙂