Happy All Fools’ Day!
By: Adam Nelson, Work and Travel Program Assistant
It’s pretty safe to say that most of us have heard of April Fools’ Day or have at least have been on the receiving end of someone’s practical joke. Despite the recognition April 1st receives from the pranksters of the world, very few of us are aware that there are long standing traditions associated with All Fools’ Day.
The roots of All Fools’ Day date back as far as the Roman times when Mother Nature would fool unsuspecting humans with the sudden changes in weather from being sunny one minute to raining and snowing the next. Though practical jokes were not the main purpose of the event (known as Hilaria) traditionally held on March 25th, the day was devoted to the spring equinox and the resurrection of Attis, the Roman God of Vegetation. England even has a long standing tradition with April Fools’ Day as commemorating the fruitless mission of the European Crow released from Noah’s Ark to find land. Some even suggest that the day originated in correlation to the Hindu festival of Holi.
It wasn’t until the Sixteenth Century that April Fools’ Day fully adopted the social standing it currently has. Before changes made to the Roman Catholic calendar by France’s King Charles IX, the majority of Europe celebrated the New Year on April 1st. Despite King Charles officially deciding that the new New Year would begin on January 1st, the majority of Europeans did not hear of this change until many years after, due to the substandard communication of the day. As a result, the more “sophisticated class” would play jokes or pranks on the fools who still thought the New Year started on April 1st. Thus, the term April Fools’ was coined.
Despite the variation in origins, there are some common “rules” that help dictate pranking. For instance, rules dictate that the pranking period must expire at noon on April 1st or the pranker risks bringing bad luck upon himself or herself. However, people who have been pranked are entitled to “turn the tables” and are allowed to prank their pranksters after the noon hour. Ladies and gentlemen beware if you prank the opposite sex; you will be fated to marry the man or women you choose to prank.
Though the meaning of April Fools’ Day has changed over the years, it still remains a day of good times and laughter. We at CCI Greenheart, wish you a fun and joyous April Fools’ Day!