Friday, April 1, 2011


I was in a bit of a quandary this morning.  It turns out that when you research the origins of April Fools Day, you have this feeling that maybe people are being less than honest.  This of course makes even the most believable stories have a curtain of doubt placed over them.

For example, April Fools definitely did not originate with a guy named Horatio in the mid 1300's who, while trying to get out of going to church on Sunday spend the day convincing his wife that it was really Monday, April 1st.

It also wasn't Louie's cousin Sal or Jimmy the pizza guy.... etc...

So after much travail and tribulation, I give you the real story of Thanksgivi... I mean April Fools.

The history of April Fool's Day or All Fool's Day is uncertain, but 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 January 1.

Communication traveled slowly in those days and some people were only informed of the change several years later. Still others, who were more rebellious refused to acknowledge the change and continued to celebrate on the last day of the former celebration, April 1.

These 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 upon them. The butts of these pranks became known as a "poisson d'avril" or "April fish" because a young naive fish is easily caught. In addition, one common practice was to hook a paper fish on the back of someone as a joke.

This harassment evolved over time and a custom of prank-playing continue on the first day 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 English and the French. 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.

In Scotland, for instance, April Fool's Day is devoted to spoofs involving the buttocks and as such is called Taily Day. The butts of these jokes are known as April 'Gowk', another name for cuckoo bird. The origins of the "Kick Me" sign can be traced back to the Scottish observance.

In England, jokes are played only in the morning. Fools are called 'gobs' or 'gobby' and the victim of a joke is called a 'noodle.' It was considered back luck to play a practical joke on someone after noon.

And on and on and on it goes.  So there you have it, the true story of April Fools Day... at least I think it is.... sounds believable, doesn't it?  I mean, we have historical characters and an international cast...

Quit laughing....

Thanks to

No comments:

Post a Comment