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The Story of April Fool’s Day

April 1, 2010

This is a day that many have fun with.  I’ve had some pretty good pranks played on me and I’ve given back my share too but have you ever wondered how this silly day ever got started?

As you know, the internet makes searching for information easy but what you find isn’t always correct.  I’ve done some research and read between some lines to give you this.

The Julian Calendar was established by Julius Caesar in 46 BC making January 1 the first day of the year. But with Christianity weaving its way through Europe, some countries wanted to start the year on Christmas or Easter which were important days to Christians.  Other countries kept using January 1, justifying its importance because it was the date of Christ’s circumcision. I bet you didn’t know that.

With all these different dates and changes taking place the European calendar was turning into a mess.  France, for example, one was of the countries that used the Easter season as the start of their new year.

In 1563 King Charles IX decreed January 1 to be the first day of the year. Then in 1582, Pope Gregory issued a papal bull and the Gregorian calendar was formed also making January 1 the start of the year. They threw that leap year thing in there too so everything would work out.

When this happened some in France didn’t like this change and as a result didn’t adhere to it.  They continued to celebrate  New Year on April 1st.

The French that conformed made fun of the others (that happens a lot). One of the favorite jokes at the time was sticking a picture of a fish on their backs.  That doesn’t sound like much of a prank but I guess you’d have had to been there.

Anyway, the recipients of this joke were referred to as Poisson d’Avril, or April Fish and that turned into what we now call April Fool’s Day.  By the way April 1 is still called April Fish in France.

So that’s the story. If you like and believe this version you can tell your friends. If you don’t believe it tell them anyway and after they look at you in a strange way – say April Fool’s

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From → Just for Fun

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