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All About April Fools

All About April Fools - By Lela S

On April 1 of every year, we celebrate April Fools Day. This year, I celebrated it by making little fish out of green felt, drawing a smiley face on them, and sticking them everywhere, especially on people’s backs! But where did this fun holiday originate? We’ll cover all that and more in this article, so let’s go!

Some historians speculate that April Fools’ Day dates back to 1582, when France switched from the Julian calendar to the Gregorian calendar, as called for by the Council of Trent in 1563. In the Julian Calendar, as in the Hindu calendar, the new year began with the spring equinox around April 1.

People who were slow to get the news, or failed to recognize the new schedule, were called “April fools”. Others played pranks on them, and one of the most popular pranks was placing paper fish on their backs, and being referred to as “poisson d’avril”, which is what it’s called in French.

There’s also speculation that April Fools’ Day was tied to the vernal equinox, or first day of spring in the Northern Hemisphere, when Mother Nature fooled people with changing, unpredictable weather.

April Fools’ Day spread throughout Britain during the 18th century. In Scotland, the tradition became a two-day event, starting with “hunting the gowk,” in which people were sent on phony errands (gowk is a word for cuckoo bird, a symbol for fool) and followed by Tailie Day, which involved pranks played on people’s derrieres, such as pinning fake tails or “kick me” signs on them. (This is probably why people in my class stick fishies saying “kick me” on other people!)

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