The Origins of April Fools’ Day
A quick Google research revealed multiple origins to the prankster’s holiday. I personally had always been told of the version where France adopted the new Gregorian calendar in 1582, which replaced Julius Caesar’s calendar. This calendar change meant that New Year’s Day would now be celebrated on January 1st, instead of the end of March. The big calendar transition was fought against and not embraced by all countries. The colonies of the pre-United States finally transitioned in 1752, and Alaska changed calendars in 1867 when it became a part of the United States.
With the big calendar change and the shifting start of the New Year, it led to some countries celebrating New Year’s on April 1st, (instead of the new January 1st date). These people were dubbed “fools” for celebrating a holiday on the “wrong” date and were made the butt of jokes.
However, due to lack of historical evidence this is only folklore legend and theory. Other theories claim that the modern April Fools’ Day was inspired by the Roman holiday Hilaria, which was celebrated with masquerades, “good cheer” and tomfoolery.
Regardless of which origin you choose to believe, it’s a fun holiday for mischief and mayhem. I particularly enjoy seeing the various “Big business” marketing pranks and rumors that float around the Internet on April Fools’ Day. Even before the Internet existed, big companies have enjoyed fooling the masses with false claims, new product releases, and big news. Check out this list of the Top 100 April Fools’ Day Hoaxes of All Time.
Better to Give than Receive
Tricks and pranks are typically more enjoyable when you aren’t on the receiving end; if you’d prefer to be the prankster, there are countless sites and lists available online for DIY pranks and shenanigans. Here are a few lists for some relatively harmless Fools’ Day fun.
- Buzzfeed.com – Pranks You Can Easily Make Yourself
- Aprilfoolzone.com – Unique, Office, Classic Pranks All In One Place
- Mashable.com – 10 Office Pranks Perfect For April Fools’ Day
Don’t Be Fooled
Since it’s never as much fun to be the victim of a Fools’ Day gag, I’ve included a list of antics & pranks circulating the Internet on behalf of today’s holiday. Remember: Not everything on the Internet is true, especially today.
- Nzherald.co.nz – 2013 April Fools’ Day Pranks
- Searchenginewatch.com – Most Recent Pranks for April 1, 2013
Were you the victim of a prank today? What’s the best or worst April Fools’ Day trick that’s ever been played on you? We’d love to hear it; share your story below in the comments.