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When did April Fool's Day Start?

Happy April Fool's Day! I hope you weren't victim to any cruel jokes today, perhaps you played some jokes on others? Here's to hoping! The history of today's "Holiday", if you will, is as murky as the "Free Cake" sign on April 1st. There's really no pinning down the actual origins of this prankster holiday, also known as All Fool's Day.


Some Scholars say one possibility is in the Greco-Roman festival which honored Cybele, an ancient Greek Mother of Gods, and its celebrations included parades, masquerades and jokes to celebrate the first day after the vernal equinox. At that time, the Julian calendar was in use and the beginning of the year was Spring. In the 16th century, the Christian world switched from the Julian calendar (which was introduced by Julius Caesar), to the Gregorian calendar (named for Pope Gregory XIII). The change moved the New Year up to January 1. So whether it was originally associated with that festival or perhaps as some historians would say, in that switch, those still using the Julian calendar were fooled by the new date. Meanwhile, others insist that the tradition of an April’s new year celebration simply evolved into a jocular time, which is how the pranks began.


Another origin story, which is highly controversial, stems from Geoffrey Chaucer’s book The Canterbury Tales from 1392. There is a line which states "32 March" but as we well know, there is no 32nd of March. Some say this was Chaucer's way of telling about April Fool's Day, other's say it was simply a misprint.


And another, perhaps most probably start of April Fool's is that it’s universal. While various cultures around the world do have celebrations around the same time, perhaps the prank-centric nature of April Fools’ Day is particular to Spring time, and people feeling extra frisky with the warming weather.


What do you think?



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