“The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world that he never existed.”-Keyser Söze (The Usual Suspects.)
And we all felt like Keyser Söze trick or treating on Halloween or while devising plans for prank wars but what about the history of April fools day?
Well, as the name itself suggests we are not completely sure about the origin of April fools day but there are a few publicly proclaimed convincing theories.
Where Did April Fools Day Originate as per Historians?
- A. France
- B. America
- C. China
- D. Australia
Happy New Year!!
Historians speculate that the origin of the April fool story dates back to 1582 when the Council of Trent called for France to switch from the Julian Calendar to the Gregorian Calendar.
Before the news could reach the far end of the country, citizens had begun to celebrate the New Year as per the Julian Calendar which commenced on the 25th of March extending till the 1st of April with the beginning of spring equinox.
Citizens who got the information that the New Year is shifted to the 1st of January called the rest “April Fools”. In the coming years, this day was celebrated with paper fish being stuck on their backs and were called “Poisson d’avril” (April fish) as a metaphor for young fish which get caught easily.
In America (Northern Hemisphere) the April fool story is said to originate in light of the vernal equinox when Mother Nature fooled everyone with unpredictable weather.
Cult of Cybele
The April fool story in Rome was theorized around the festival of “Hilaria” that was celebrated by the followers of Cybele (considered as the Mother of Gods.) Masquerade Balls, cross-dressing as people of authority, tricks, and comedy were the main constituents of this celebration.
Hunting the Gowk
The April fool story in the United Kingdom is seen as an evolution from the tradition of Chris Kindle (Secret Santa) into “hunting the gowk” where people gave silly tasks to do. On the second day, called the “Taily Day,” people stuck fake tails, and ‘kick me’ signs on the tushy of loved ones.
In the modern era, media has also joined in this tradition and has used it efficiently for advertisement purposes. To name a few:
- BBC pranked viewers on how farmers had a good harvest of spaghetti.
- Gmail was launched on the eve of April Fools day and many thought it was a prank.
- Burger King designed a leftie special whopper burger.
- James Randi gives an award to expose frauds called the Pigasus Award.
- Radio host Jean Shepherd urged listeners to enter bookstores and ask for a book that didn’t exist. So many people took part in this hoax that the book was soon on The New York Times Best Seller list.