As it is the 1st of April, we will have a little story-time on the history of April Fools’ Day.
In modern times, April Fools’ Day is synonymous with pranks and jokes, which involve not only individuals but also brands and media.
There are many versions of how April Fools’ Day came to such an importance. First, we will talk about the transition from Julian calendar to Gregorian calendar, which happened in France in 1582.
In Julian calendar, the new year was celebrated on 1 April, the spring equinox. Those who didn’t get the memo that year and didn’t realise that the beginning of the year had been moved to 1 January were referred to as ‘poisson d’avril’ or April fish.
The term itself meant a gullible person or ‘April fools.’ Those who still celebrated the new year during the last week of March through 1 April were made fun of by having a paper fish stuck onto their backs.
The second version said that April Fools’ Day is related to ‘Hilaria’ (Latin for ‘joyful’), an ancient Roman festival celebrated at the end of March which included citizen dressing up and mocking fellow citizen or public officials.
Who would have thought that Mother Nature and the weather are related to April Fools’? It is said that the unpredictable weather at the beginning of spring in the Northern Hemisphere is Mother Nature making a fool of us.
Finally, the April Fools’ spread throughout Britain in the 18th century. This version of April Fools’ was probably the closest to what we know now, as it sometimes involved sticking ‘kick me’ sign on someone’s derriere (back side). Since then, April Fools’ Day became an unofficial holiday in many parts of the world, where people are allowed to do harmless pranks, jokes, and hoaxes, and the targets are not usually mad or upset.