Just when I thought I was out of the woods with April Fool’s Day pranks, my 11 year old son came running into my bedroom this morning to tell me our adopted rescue silky terrier, Waldo, had peed on the floor and he had stepped in it. Half dressed I went running down the hall following my son, limping with his wet foot, as he led me to the scene of where the puddle of wetness sat on the floor. As I bent down to investigate the amount of fluid on the floor he screamed, “April Fool’s!”
All over the world, today is April Fool’s, a day for jokes, pranks, and silly costumes. No one is quite sure of the origin of April Fool’s Day, but there are some theories.
The most common hypothesis for the origin of April Fool’s is tied to France’s switch to the Julian calendar in the mid 1500’s. Until the switch, Northern Europeans celebrated the new year on Easter, not on January 1. It took time for rural communities to adopt the new calendar system, and those who did not adopt it were referred to as fools.
Other historians tie April Fool’s Day to an event that occurred during the reign of the Roman Emperor Constantine I. In the third and fourth centuries A.D., a court jester could ask his Sovereign if he could be the ruler for the day. Constantine’s jester, Kugel, who was the first appointed King for the day, decreed that April 1 is associated with fun and games. The word “fool” is a synonym for jester.
Finally, since ancient times, peopled have attended festival days to celebrate new growth and the earth’s renewal. Historians note that these celebrations were often attended by people wearing costumes and generally acting silly. Around the first of April, I’m almost giddy with the thought of Spring.
If you need some joke or prank inspiration, click here to read the top 100 hoaxes, according to Hoax.org. Here are three: In 1957, the BBC convinced viewers that the Swiss grew spaghetti. In 1976, an adventurer created a glacier from foam in Sydney Harbor. In 1996, Philadelphians were told Taco Bell had bought the Liberty Bell, which patriots would now refer to as the Taco Liberty Bell.
I hope your April Fool’s Day will be full of fun, too.