April Fools Day history fools origin

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History and origins

Many ancient cultures (including the Romans, Europeans, Phoenicians and Hindus) celebrated their New Year around the Spring Equinox (March 21st),

New Year is a time for celebration and may also be considered a time when spirits are abroad.

In 1582 Pope Gregory XIII introduced the Gregorian calendar which shifted the New Year to January 1st, however communications being what they were (and the fact that people hate change) many still celebrated the New Year at the Spring Equinox. They were, of course, Fools and it became traditional to make fun of these people.

This is only a theory and there’s a lot wrong with it.





The main reason is that this was supposed to have occurred only in France, and there’s not explanation as to why it might have spread. The Gregorian calendar wasn’t adopted in Britain until 1752 (when there were riots over supposedly lost days) yet April Fool’s Day was well-established by that time.

The Spring Fever idea is perhaps the most likely. The Romans had the festival of Hilaria, the Hindus had Holi and Judaism has Purim, all of which are light-hearted holidays.

Although the true April Fool’s Day appears to have become popular in Britain in the early 18th century, Chaucer's story, the Nun's Priest’s Tale, written c.1400, takes place on 32nd March which is 1st April. The story is about Chanticleer and the Fox: two fools.