Come April Fools’ Day and everyone stay on their heels to brace for any potential pranks or jokes from friends and colleagues. If you’re in college, you’re bound to either get a headbutt, eat a chocolate cake baked with mud or have your girlfriend whisper in your ear that she’s pregnant. (Have I given too many ideas?)
I know, I know, the day is a nightmare.
But when did it all start?
There are several stories behind April 1st being marked as the Fool’s Day. Check them out:
Pope Gregory XIII & Calendar legend: This legend states that Pope Gregory XIII adopted the Gregorian calendar in 1582, which moved the beginning of the year from March to Jan 1. This change was implemented widely but there were a few who didn’t get the ‘memo’ and celebrated the New Year on April 1. These people were called foolish and since then the day has been marked as Fool’s day.
Renewal festivals: Many claim that the idea to mark April 1st as the Fool’s Day came from “renewal festivals”, which marked the end of winters, beginning of spring and involved playing pranks on friends and strangers as a tradition.
French revolution: April 1st is the anniversary of the French Revolution. On this day, apparently, King George III of England befooled French and English public. He pretended to step down; the peasants took to the streets in euphoria to celebrate their freedom and then got arrested and imprisoned.
Roman Mythology: The legend states that the God of the dead abducted Proserpina and brought her to live with him in the underworld. Proserpina called to her mother Ceres for help, but she could only hear the echo of her daughter’s voice. She searched in vain. The legend states that this fruitless search was the basis for the ‘fool’s journey’.
Gotham legend: According to this legend, the April Fool’s Day was supposed to commemorate the victory of the citizens of Gotham over King John and his soldiers. The legend states that the citizen of the town of Gotham in Nottinghamshire started acting like lunatics to stop King John and his soldiers from visiting their town as they didn’t want to lose their land. In England, if the King placed his foot upon any road, then it became public property. To save their land, they fooled the king’s soldiers.
Geoffrey Chaucer: According to this legend, the April Fool’s Day came into existence due to the misinterpretation of Geoffrey Chaucer literary work. In his literary work ‘The Nun’s Priest’s Tale’, Chaucer mentioned “syn March began thirty days and two,” by which he meant 32 days after March so probably May 2 but people took it to mean March 32 or April 1. This is seen as a reference to April Fool’s Day.