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April Fool’s Day – A History

I woke up this morning and thought to myself, just where did April Fool’s Day come from? So, after some Internet research, I seem to be no closer to the solution but do have some interesting ideas. Which is your favorite? Comment below so we can continue to add to the story.

The most prevailing theory has to do with the country of France. Back in 1564, France changed the celebration of the New Year from April 1st to January 1st. Some people were slow to adopt this change, and became known as April Fools. People would put paper fish on the back so of others, called, poisson d’avril (April fish), marking them as easily caught fish, or very gullible.

Poisson d’avril

Another theory of the origin of this day was the festival of Hilaria in Ancient Rome. This festival, celebrated at the spring Equinox (March 25th) and was in honor of the Goddess Cybele. A statue of the goddess was marched through the streets, preceded by other works of art from the wealthy families. Afterwards, everyone would celebrate by dressing in costumes.

In Scotland, during the 18th Century, a two day festival started with the hunting of the “gowk” (a cuckoo bird – the symbol of the fool). It was common for people to send others on fake errands. The second day, called Tailie Day, was where people would play tricks on each others butts, like putting “Kick Me” signs on each others backs (a tradition that still plays out in the halls of academia here in America).

Many companies today have gotten in on the April Fools pranks. Being a long suffering Mets fan, how can I ever forget the story of Sid Fitch, the Sports Illustrated sure thing that could pitch 168 miles per hour. Or maybe some of you requested your left-handed Whopper from Burger King. Whatever the prank, enjoy the day as it is meant to be, in good fun. Also, may the start of the spring season bring you joy and prosperity.

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