April Fool's Day 


April Fools Day or All Fools’ Day is generally celebrated on April 1, with jokes and pranks being the order of the day.  Adding the Hilaria in ancient Rome, celebrated March 25, the fact that both occur around the Vernal Equinox, is not a coincidence.  Both celebrations see the coming of spring as a time of rebirth amid the changing seasons and weather patterns of spring.  Unpredictability mixed with fertility and we see many countries using this time to let loose and enjoy. 

The changes made to the Gregorian calendar by Charles IX of France in 1582 resulted in the pranks and jokes day we tend to celebrate as April Fools Day.  The King moved New Year from end March – April 1st to the January 1st spot it holds today.  Thus began the issuing of invitations to non-existent soirees and masked balls to those who forgot the move of the holiday.  Public humiliation was the goal and none were safe from the prankster’s work.  The victim, often called Poisson D’Avril (April Fish)  in France, a Noodle in England and so forth.  Paper fish are part of the festivities in France with pranksters attempting to attach brightly colored paper fish to their victims without being caught. 

In Belgium, children lock parents and teachers out, allowing them in only so long as they promise to bring treats. 

If tricks and pranks are played after the noon hour, they rebound back to the prankster and it’s said his year progresses with bad luck after that.

© J Thompson

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