No one wants to be called a fool. But it’s April Fool’s Day, so that word can be thrown about easily. You can get away with pushing someone off the cliff and yelling, “April Fool!” Call it youthful exuberance or blame it on the day.
Anyway, it’s that time of the year when you get to be carefree and play the fool or be fooled. Remember, April Fool’s Day isn’t actually the only holiday dedicated to pranks and mischief on the calendar.
Although a lot of people celebrate this day, they have no clue how it started. Talk about walking blindly! Why all the hype about April Fool’s Day? How did it start? Why should it be celebrated? All these questions have two major theories that best explain them. The April Fish Calendar and the season change theory are the best (and most hilarious) speculations of them all.
Take a look at the history of April Fool’s Day according to two different theories. You can also check out the six best April Fool’s Day pranks by tech companies in history.
1. Gregorian or Julian calendar changeover theory
The history of this day has a huge question mark. Some historians have tried to trace it back to the time of the Romans. They believed it resulted from a memorable transaction between the Romans and the Sabines. Meanwhile, a mainstream explanation from History.com attributes the Gregorian or Julian calendar changeover to the cause. It reads:
“Some historians speculate that April Fool’s Day dates back to 1582, when France switched from the Julian calendar to the Gregorian calendar, as called for by the Council of Trent in 1563.
“People who were slow to get the news or failed to recognise that the start of the new year had moved to Jan 1 and continued to celebrate the new year during the last week of March through April 1 became the b**t of jokes and hoaxes.
“These pranks included having paper fish placed on their backs and being referred to as Poisson d’avril (April fish), said to symbolise a young, “easily hooked” fish and a gullible person.”
In countries where there’s actually a change in season, April is a month that says goodbye to winter. It also says hello to the green freshness of a new season, so it made a whole lot of sense. The innocent Poisson d’avril had it right. Are you in the mood to place a paper fish on your neighbour’s back today? You could try but this explanation is just another speculation for why this day is hyped.
2. Changing season theory
Another explanation is that this is just a day to celebrate the change of season. The spring weather is one that’s well-anticipated after the winter. JSTOR postulated that:
“The coming of spring itself also seems to be a big part of the tradition of practical jokes and purposeful deception. Winter is ending, but not quite over yet. The day becomes one of celebrating the transition between seasons. It’s somewhat akin to Halloween, but embracing, rather than the darkness of winter, the light of spring. The pranks are lighter in spirit, too, unlike Hell Night’s more anonymous and potentially dangerous tricks.”
(So, it’s a huge wonder why countries like Nigeria, who don’t have this changing season, celebrate it as well.)
April is all about something new, green and fresh. It’s the time when you just want to relax and be gullible amongst friends. Who cares if there are no season changes all around the world. With the stress of living day-to-day just to earn and manage life hustle and bustle, it’s allowed. You’re allowed to let loose at least this one time in the year.
You can do this any time of the day but what better day is there than that global day of exuberance? Take advantage of this day, break loose and play the fool or be one.