April Fools' Day

The first day of April, on which special license is given to the playing of practical jokes. Possibly descended from an ancient Roman festival, the custom took hold in France around 1564, when the date of the new year was changed from 25 March to 1 January on the adoption of the Gregorian calendar (which replaced the Julian calendar and entailed some rearrangement of the dates of certain festivals). Festivities marking the start of the New Year had for centuries been celebrated on the first day of April, postponed until then because 25 March fell during Holy Week. With the change in the date, many French peasants played the trick of arriving unexpectedly on their neighbors on 1 April to fool them into thinking it was still the first day of the New Year. The day subsequently became enshrined worldwide as one on which to test the humor of friends and neighbors, the most popular jokes including sending people on pointless errands (the tradition has been increased in scope in modern times by the sometimes very plausible tricks perpetrated by the media).

Superstitions has it that license for such activities expires at twelve noon, and any jokes attempted after that time will bring bad luck to the originator of them. Anyone who fails to respond to tricks played on them in the proper spirit of tolerance and amusement will also suffer bad luck. It is further said that compensation for being fooled by a pretty girl will come in the form of marriage to, or at least friendship with, the girl in question. Marriage on April Fools' Day is not, however, a good idea for a man, for he will be permanently ruled by his wife. Children born on this day will experience good luck in most matters, but will only meet with disaster when it comes to gambling in any form.  


  1. Interesting post! Guess I'll have to think up something funny.

  2. Nice little piece of history here - thanks for the informative read :)

    Megan @ Storybook Love Affair


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