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How did April Fools’ Day begin?

Festivals | 7-13 yrs | Reading Pod

April Fools Day Origin and History

Earlier, much of Europe celebrated March 25, as the beginning of the new year. The celebrations culminated on April 1. In the 1500s, King Charles IX of France issued an order to regard January 1 as the first day of the year to match the Roman calendar.

Since means of communication were not as advanced in those days as they are now, some people in rural areas came to know about this change several years later! Also, some people found this reform absurd and refused to acknowledge the change. They continued to celebrate the new year in the month of April.

These people became the target of some April jokes and were made fun of as fools. Those who had accepted the change played pranks on them, sent them empty gift packs and invited them to fake parties. The victim of these pranks became known as a ‘Poisson d’avril’ or ‘April fish’ because a young naive fish is easily caught in the net. It was a common practice during those days to hook a paper fish on the back of someone as a joke.

Eventually, everybody accepted the calendar reform but the tradition of playing practical jokes on friends, or sending them on fools’ errands continued. This tradition gradually spread from France to the other parts of the world too.

Or maybe April Fools’ Day began from the Romans celebrating a festival known as Hilaria on March 25, rejoicing in the resurrection of Attis, a Roman God. Today, this day is known as ‘Roman Laughing Day’ in Rome. The Romans get together on the streets, sing and dance, organize masquerades and play games.

For more interesting festivals, go to: Festival for Kids.