The Origin of The April Fool’s Day

Posted: April 14, 2011 in Encyclopedia

April Fool’s Day
While popular in the U.S., the April Fool’s Day tradition is even more prevalent in European countries, such as France and Great Britain. Although the roots of the traditional trickings are unclear, the French and the British both have claims on the origin of the celebration.
One theory holds that the first April Fool’s Day was on April 1 of the year when King of France instituted the new calendar. This new system placed the day that had formerly been the first day of a new year on April 1. Many people were reluctant to adjust to the new calendar and continued to celebrate New Year’s Day on what had become the first day of April. Thus, they become the first April fools. Others began to give gag gifts on the day to mock the foolishness of those who continued to celebrate the new year on April 1.
An English story about the day, however, holds that it began sometime during the 1200s. At the time, King John of England was in the habit of making a road out of nearly every path he walked regularly. The citizens of one particular farm village were aware of this. To avoid having their green meadows and pastures disturbed with one of the king’s roads, they built a fence that prevented the king from walking through their countryside. The king sent a group of messengers to inform the villagers that they must remove the barrier. Upon hearing that the king was planning to do this, however, the villagers developed a plan of their own. When community of lunatics, with people behaving in a bizarre manner, throwing things and running around wildly. The messengers, alarmed at what they had found, reported to King John that these people were so mad as to be beyond punishment. So, the villagers saved their farmland by tricking the King.In Great Britain, tradition only allows April Fool’s tricks from midnight to noon on April 1. Those who try to play tricks in the afternoon become the fools themselves.

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