Why Does April Fools’ Day Exist?

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Today is April Fools’ Day, so if you love to pull pranks, today might be an exciting day for you. However, if you’re not a prankster, you might question why April Fools’ day even exists. Below, find out why where this not-quite-a-holiday comes from, how people used to celebrate it, and how you might celebrate it (if at all) today. 

When was April Fools’ Day first referenced?

The origins of April Fools’ Day aren’t clear, but the earliest date that it may have possibly been mentioned was in Geoffrey Chaucer’s 1392 book The Canterbury Tales. In the book, Chaucer wrote “32 March,” which could be a joke and might mean April 1. However, some experts on the medieval era believe that this date could have simply been a misprint. 

When did April Fools’ Day start?

Many historians speculate that April Fools’ Day started in 1582. That year, France switched from the Julian calendar to the Gregorian calendar. The Julian calendar marked the beginning of a new year with the spring equinox around April 1. 

Some people were late to receive the news of the calendar change and continued to celebrate the new year during the last week of March until April 1. The people who continued to celebrate the Julian calendar’s new year were called “April fools.”

Why did people first start celebrating April Fools’ Day?

According to historians, the people who first celebrated April Fools’ Day pranked the people who were delayed in switching calendars. The first April Fools’ prank involved placing paper fish on people’s backs. Additionally, a person who continued to celebrate the new year according to the then-outdated Julian calendar was called a “poisson d’avril” (April fish). A person who was called an “April fish” was likened to a young, easily caught fish and seen as gullible.

Where do people celebrate April Fools’ Day today?

Many people in several countries celebrate April Fools’ Day. In France, some people do still tape paper fish to people’s backs. In Italy, April Fools’ Day is called “Pesce d’Aprile” (April fish) and some people do the same paper fish prank. 

In Finland, after some people prank others, they say “April trick” in Finnish. In Greece, some people believe that causing someone misfortune on April Fools’ Day can bring the prankster good luck, thus incentivizing people to pull pranks. In Brazil, April 1 is called “Lie Day” and people who celebrate the day try to fool their friends or family.

Is April Fools’ Day an actual holiday?

Technically, April Fools’ Day is not a holiday since it is not a federal holiday. Despite it not being a federal holiday, many people still love to celebrate it and prank people. In other countries, April Fools’ Day is likewise not a federal holiday, but prank-lovers enjoy having fun tricking others.

How can you celebrate April Fools’ Day?

There are many simple ways you can celebrate April Fools’ Day. Some harmless pranks include changing photographs in someone else’s picture frame or calling someone a nickname they don’t use.

How will you celebrate April Fools’ Day? Sound off in the comments!

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