The History of April Fools’ Day

Trust me, you’ll be surprised!


David Larsen, Contributor

April is a great month of the year! We get Spring Break, Easter, Earth Day, and there’s less than 30 days left in the school year. It might go by pretty quick, but it will be awesome while it lasts! On the very first day of April, however, we also get to celebrate one of the greatest holidays of them all: April Fools’ Day! So how did it originate, where did it start, and why is it so amazing? The last one is relatively obvious, but the other two questions remain fairly unknown, and it’s time to end that!

Although we’ll never know the exact origins of the holiday, there are still many theories. According to historians, April Fools’ Day started around the year 1583, when France switched to the Gregorian calendar, which is the calendar used around the world today. This action was decided upon by the Council of Trent in 1563, and an article by states, “People who were slow to get the news or failed to recognize that the start of the new year had moved to January 1 and continued to celebrate it during the last week of March through April 1 became the butt of jokes and hoaxes.” Some of the pranks that people came up with included having paper fish placed on the backs. This became known as “poisson d’avril” (April fish in French).

Another popular theory regarding the history of April Fools’ Day is that it was tied to the vernal equinox, also known as the first day or start of spring in the Northern Hemisphere, when mother nature fooled people with the start of a new season and unpredictable weather.

There’s also the belief that it’s linked to festivals including Hilaria, a popular tradition/celebration in ancient Rome at the end of March. During the festivities, people would dress up in their best disguises to fool people, which may have led to what we celebrate today.

Of course, there are many, many more theories and speculations, but we may never know the exact origins of one of the greatest holidays ever created. So, what do you enjoy doing on April Fools’ Day, and what kind of pranks will you come up with? Make sure to leave a comment, and as always, go check out the other awesome stories on Rider Review. Finally, have a great holiday, a great Spring Break and enjoy the last 30 days or less of the 2018-19 school year!


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