April Fools' Day Has a Humorously Intriguing Past Full of Deceptions, Dupes and Tricks
The mischief makers rejoice every year on April 1 because they can deceive, trick and play pranks on others under the guise of an official day. But did it ever occur to you why there's a day dedicated to playful mischief when no one's stopping us from pulling pranks around the year?
The world has its own theories of the origins of April Fools' Day and it's debatable. The silly day is centuries-old. To understand the birth of the day when it's legal to fool around, let's take a peek into the past of this silly celebration that the world seems to love so much. April Fools' Day is an annual celebration that occurs on April 1. The day is marked by people pranking each other and once the prankee gets in the trap, the trickster reveals the deception by shouting, "April Fool!" The Internet world has taken the idea of pranking to new heights as renowned brands and mass media trick their audiences with significant hoaxes.
Surprisingly, April Fools' Day existed for centuries, it seemingly goes as far back as ancient Rome. Halloween, Valentine's Day and Mardi Gras have one thing in common with April Fool's, they all evolved from Pagan celebrations, reported My Modern Met. Historians had also linked it to Hilaria, a series of ancient festivals honoring Cybele, the mother of the gods. It was a distinct form of festivity held for several days surrounding the vernal or spring equinox, with a feria stativa (or holiday) occurring on March 25. This day was based on the "no work and only play" concept. Essentially people took part in silly games and solemn processions. The most anticipated event, however, was the Masquerade. The event allowed people to put on a disguise and make mischief to break the monotony of life.
The details about its exact date are still unknown but historians have predicted a few possibilities including a Middle English tale, an official date change in France and a Flemish poem. An early belief on its origin states that in 1561, a Flemish poet wrote some humorous verse about a nobleman who sends his servant back and forth on ludicrous errands in preparation for a wedding feast. The servant continued the "Fool's errands."
The more popular origins of the April Fool are also mentioned in Geoffrey Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales (1476). Another possible origin begins with the 1564 Edict of Roussillon, an official order that declared January 1 as New Year's Day in France. Charles IX, the king of France at the time, was seeking consistency and legend has it people missed his memo for New Year's and continued to celebrate it in spring. And they mockingly became known as—what else?—"April Fools."
The celebration today has changed. Ireland and Scotland have adopted the Flemish idea of "fool's errands." However, in France, the day is known as 'Poisson d'Avril' or 'April Fish,' where pranksters attach paper fish to the backs of unsuspecting people. The UK and the US carry out the popularized tradition of shouting "April Fool" on this day after pranking someone. So, what is your idea of April Fools' Day?