why do we celebrate april fools day

It is that time of the year again when one can prank people with zero guilt. The celebration of April fools day is known to have originated in Europe but in no way has its observance been limited to the Western world. In the highly connected globalised world order that we live in, the dedication of April 1 as a day for fools, has been a rather contagious (and even contentious) affair. While historians still remain unsure about the precise roots of April fools day, the most popular explanation of its beginnings is considered to lay in the change of calendar from the Julian to the Gregorian one. In 1582, Pope Gregory XIII ruled the new calendar to start from January 1, instead of the hitherto celebration of new year in the end of March. This change in the annual calendar was first brought into practice by France. However, a large number of people all across Europe continued with the Julian calendar. As a result, those who adopted the new calendar started referring to the ones who refused to change as вfoolsв, thereby marking the beginning of a tradition that we would go on to observe in the coming centuries.


However, this popular explanation for April fools day does not add up to the fact that not every country in Europe switched to the Gregorian calendar at the same time. For instance, England did not adopt the new calendar until 1752. However, the concept of April fools was well known there by then. One other explanation for the origin of this tradition is that of the spring time custom of light hearted merriment that is believed to have been observed across several parts of the world for centuries. For instance, in ancient Rome a festival called вHilariaв was celebrated on the last week of March, as the day on which God Attis was resurrected. Similarly in India Holi is celebrated during the same time of the year as an occasion for playful jubilation by spraying colours on each other. Perhaps we can find the origins of April fools day in the overall atmosphere of merrymaking that has been observed world over for centuries during the time of the year when winter gives way to spring. For all the latest, download
First Published on: March 31, 2017 6:19 pm On 1st April, many of you may be planning to be mischievous and play pranks on your friends and family.


That's because it's April Fools' Day, when we all get to play the joker! "It has been celebrated in the UK since at least the 19th century," explains Andrea Livesey, a historian from the University of Bristol. "Children were commonly the victims of these pranks! " So we wanted to find out more about why we celebrate April Fools' Day. It is a bird, is it a plane.? No it's Superman crasing into a wall Andrea told us that not everybody agrees where the festival come from. She says: "There is surprisingly little known about the origins of April Fools' Day and there are a large number of completely different - and quite entertaining - theories of its origin. " So let's have a look at some of them. Could April Fools' Day be connected to poetry? "Some have argued that a story told by early English poet Geoffrey Chaucer in the 14th century - where a fox plays a prank on a rooster (who is almost eaten because of it) - is the first reference to pranks taking place on the first of April. " The poet doesn't actually directly refer to April 1st though.


In the poem, he says 32 days "syn March began", which people have said is "32 days since March began" which would be April 1st. But those who don't believe this theory say he was just using confusing words to make fun of people in the poem. Some believe the tradition started because of events in the calendar. Something called renewal festivals date back to Roman times. These were a celebration at the start of a new year or season, when things went a bit topsy turvy. Is April the 1st the right day to celebrate Fools' Day? "Servants could control masters or children could control their parents! " says Andrea. March is the time of the Spring Equinox, so people think the joker tradition could come from this, as the beginning of spring and planting flowers was considered the start of the new year. There is another calendar theory about when people started celebrating new year at the beginning of January, instead of the end of March. Those who continued to celebrate it at the end of March, rather than on 1st January like we do today, were considered to be fools and had jokes played on them.


In some parts of Europe, an April Fools' prank is to stuck a fish to someone's back "The earliest concrete records we have about 1st April are from France and Holland in the 1500s and, because of this, people believe that it must have been a northern European tradition that spread to Britain," Andrea explains. It is actually known as April Fish Day in some areas of Europe. People think this is because there are a lot of fish in French streams and rivers around 1st April, and they are easy to catch - foolish fish! So it soon became a tradition to play tricks on people on April 1st too. "It is still a common trick in France, and elsewhere in Europe, to attach a paper fish to somebody's back on April Fools' Day, and also to give chocolate fish as gifts," Andrea says. Last year the North Yorkshire Moors Railway said it had created a train carriage dedicated just to dogs, but it was just a joke. So it appears we don't actually know for sure where April Fools' Day officially started. But one thing's for sure - people have been playing jokes on April 1st for a very long time! So watch out that you don't get pranked!

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