It’s April Fools’ Day and whether you’re on the giving or receiving end of a joke, today will hopefully be a day for laughter and good-natured conviviality. This holiday has a strange history that may reach all the way back to antiquity. Before the foolishness ensues, let’s take a minute to learn how this celebration began.
The most widely accepted origin of April Fools’ Day, also called All Fools’ Day, comes from 16th century France when the calendar was changed so that New Year’s Day was celebrated on January 1st (according to the Roman calendar) as opposed to celebrating New Year’s in late March or early April with the advent of spring. Not everyone learned of the change right away and people in the country, far from the cities, would have still celebrated a spring New Year. These people were mocked and called fools. However, Alex Boese, curator of the Museum of Hoaxes in San Diego, California and an authority on April Fools’ Day, disputes this theory. Continue reading