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April Fools

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Tomorrow is, what might seem like any other ordinary day. But in actuality, for some, it will be a day of fun. I see all small celebrations celebrated less and less the older I get and perhaps this is due to the maturity of my peers growing. Still, just because we are more mature now, doesn’t mean we cannot find joy in the day of April Fools. I remember it as a day for harmless jokes that cause everyone involved to have a small chuckle. In recent years, it has been hard to practice practical joes on more than two or three people and I will likely not get to prank anyone this year, but I do wonder where this day started and how it became to be so widely known.

In truth, the origins of this holiday, though it is centuries old, are somewhat unknown. There are several speculations as to how the holiday began. Some historians believe that it started in the late 16th century in France when the calendar changed from the Julian Calendar to the Gregorian calendar. While the Julian Calendar celebrates the end of March as the end of the year, and April as the first month of the year, the new Gregorian calendar celebrated it as we do now, with December as the end of the year and January as the beginning. Those who, on the year of the new calendar still celebrated the New Year at the end of March and the start of April, who had not received news or caught up on the ways of the new calendar, would be the subject of practical jokes such as having paper fish stuck to their backs to show that they were ‘easily hooked’ and gullible.

By the 18th century, the holiday had spread to Britain, and in Scotland, it had become a two-day event. The first of these days was called ‘hunting the gowk’, wherein people would be sent out on false tasks. The second was called Tailie day, where pranks were played on people’s behinds, with ‘kick me’ signs being placed or donkeys’ tails.

Alternate theories credit a confusion about Canterbury Tales by Chaucer, wherein he talks in one line about thirty-two days from March. People may have taken this to mean the first of April, where the date of April 1st comes from. This would date the origins of April Fools would have been earlier than what was believed in the previous theory.

I think there is something wonderful in comedy, in the joy that certain types of jokes can be told or played. I think that pranks, when harmless, can bring strange joy to everyone involved. Now that we are starting to see the other side of a dark time in these lives, it is important that we enjoy the small things in life. Savor every joke, live in every moment. Live this life and squeeze it for all it is worth.

Sources

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