April Fool's Day was either a day to look forward to as a kid or a date to fear, depending on the jokes and creative pranks that one's friends would play.
The history of April Fool’s Day is as varied as the jokes that are played on that day. Some say that the day started with Chaucer and his mention of the day in The Canterbury Tales (1392), the “Nun’s Priest’s Tale” is set to begin on March, thirty days and two thus making it April 1. In Chaucer’s tale, the vain cock Chauntecleer is tricked by a fox.
In the Middle Ages, New Year’s Day was celebrated on March 25 in most European town. In some areas of France, New Year’s was a week-long holiday ending on April 1. April Fools was believed to have originated because those who celebrated on January 1 made fun of those who celebrated on other dates.
The Gregorian Calendar was introduced, and New Year’s Day was moved from March 25 – April 1 (new year’s week) to January 1. Those not wishing to align with the new calendar called the other’s fools on April 1.
Different countries around the world had a number of varied ways that they celebrated April Fool’s Day. Today, in the United States, kids will play jokes on each other and their parents trying to catch them in an April Fool’s prank.
**What’s your best April Fool’s prank?
Here are some ways that the April Fool's Day has evolved throughout the centuries.
In Scotland, for instance, April Fool's Day is devoted to spoofs involving the buttocks and as such is called Taily Day. The butts of these jokes are known as April 'Gowk', another name for cuckoo bird. The origins of the "Kick Me" sign can be traced back to the Scottish observance.
In England, jokes are played only in the morning. Fools are called 'gobs' or 'gobby' and the victim of a joke is called a 'noodle.' It was considered back luck to play a practical joke on someone after noon.
In Rome, the holiday is known as Festival of Hilaria, celebrating the resurrection of the god Attis, is on March 25 and is also referred to as "Roman Laughing Day."
In Portugal, April Fool's Day falls on the Sunday and Monday before lent. In this celebration, many people throw flour at their friends.
The Huli Festival is celebrated on March 31 in India. People play jokes on one another and smear colors on one another celebrating the arrival of Spring.
Enjoy the Day!