The history of April Fool’s Day

Oreta Wright
Sun Columnist

The history of April Fool’s Day or All Fool’s Day is uncertain. The current thinking is that it began around 1582 in France with the reform of the calendar under Charles IX. The Gregorian Calendar was introduced, and New Year’s Day was moved from March 25 - April 1 (new year’s week) to Jan. 1.
Communications traveled slowly in those days and some people were only informed of the change several years later. Still others, who were rebellious refused to acknowledge the change and continued to celebrate on the last day of the former celebration, April 1.
Those people were labeled “fools” by the general populace, were subject to ridicule and sent on “fool errands,” sent invitations to nonexistent parties and had other practical jokes played on them.
The harassment evolved over time and a custom of prank playing continued on the first of April. This tradition eventually spread elsewhere like to Britain and Scotland in the 18th century and was introduced to the American colonies by the French and the English.
Because of this spread to other countries, April Fool’s day has taken on an international flavor with each country celebrating the holiday in its own way.
So, no matter where you happen to be in the world on April 1, don’t be surprised if an April Fool’s joke is played on you. I’m sure you have seen the “Kick Me” sign and “If you have Prince Albert in a can, please let him out.” Pranks were always played at schools. I’m sure you can identify with many of them or played some good ones on your friends.

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