April Fools’ Day on April 1 is a day where many of us unleash our most creative sides, all in a hilarious – sometimes over the top – attempt at bamboozling those around us.
Why do we do this, and where did it start? Well there surprisingly isn’t a concrete conclusion by historians. We’ll explore the possibilities below, but nevertheless, every spring we all put on our pranking caps to plan out the most devious and diabolical, yet safe and playful pranks we can think of, making this 24 hours possibly the most fun, exciting, and anxiety-filled day of the year!
History of April Fools' Day
Today, pranking on April Fools’ Day has transcended the confinements of the first day of April to become a year-round internet phenomenon. Thousands of videos on the most popular internet sites emerge everyday, pushing the pranking limit to sometimes dangerous territories. We do NOT condone this and below we’ll illustrate how to allow this holiday to remain true to what it was meant to be – safe, and well, hilarious!
There’s no consensus on how it all began, but a popular theory is that while nowadays, January 1 is when we start the new year, this wasn’t the case before 1592. We used a calendar called the Julian calendar – created by Julius Caesar in 45 BC – which saw every new year begin on April 1! Crazy, we know.
Pope Gregory the 8th created a new method for keeping track of days, which was the start of the calendar we all know and love – the Gregorian calendar. When he moved the date of New Year’s Eve it obviously took some time for everyone to catch on to it. Those who were a bit behind the times still celebrated on April 1, and were considered fools for doing so.
One lesser known, often argued explanation for our beloved prank day is buried in a 1392 book called “The Canterbury Tales” by Geoffrey Chaucer. One line in this publication simply references “March 32”, and the debate to its meaning was born. Without much context and being dated so far back, the interpretation remains a mystery. Some believe it to be a joke, dawning this annual tradition, while some say it’s none other than a misprint.
Whether we have Gregory the 8th or Geoffrey Chaucer to thank for April Fools’ Day, it has existed for centuries and will continue to cause a flurry of creativity and excitement in the first few weeks of spring.