4.02.2009

In case you were wondering. . .

Last night, Lucy asked me why I didn't even try to trick her on April Fool's Day. I told her I was too tired. Then she asked me why we even celebrated April Fool's Day. So I pulled out my folder of old newsletters that I used to write for Morningside School and related this information to her.

To Fool or Be Fooled. . . On April Fool's Day
While some people dread April Fool's Day, others plan and scheme for weeks before its arrival. But how did this foolish holiday come to be? Well, in sixteenth-century France, the start of the new year was observed on April 1st. It was celebrated in much the same way it is today, with late-night parties and dancing.

In 1562, Pope Gregory introduced a new calendar for the Christian world, and the start of the new year was changed to January 1st. Because of the inefficient mode of communication at that time, there were some people who hadn't heard and others who refused to believe the change of date.

These people continued to celebrate the new year on April 1st and were labeled "fools" by the rest of society. They were subject to teasing and practical jokes and were often sent on "fool's errands" such as being sent to pick up some elbow grease or to ask a farmer for some pigeon's milk. The tradition eventually spread to England and Scotland in the eighteenth century. It was later introduced to the English and French-American colonies.

Even the most serious have been known to indulge in a practical joke, or two, so beware trusting anyone (especially the media) on April 1st. The year Canada introduced a two-dollar coin, pranksters from a radio station fooled listeners into believing April 1st was the last day the treasury would honor all the two-dollar bills still in circulation. Local banks and the Royal Canadian Mint were swamped with calls from concerned citizens.

Other famous spoofs include the 1957 news report about the spaghetti harvest in Switzerland; the 1996 announcement from Taco Bell, that it had purchased the Liberty Bell and was renaming it the Taco Liberty Bell; and the 1998 prank by Burger King about "Left-Handed Whoppers" that had been re-engineered for southpaws.

Mark Twain said, "The first of April is the day we remember what we are the other 364 days of the year."
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Yesterday, Adam poured out a whole box of Froot Loops on the kitchen floor. He later dumped the entire box of Cap'n Crunch on the living room floor. Do you think he was just pulling some April Fool's Day pranks, or do I need to move the cereal?

1 comment:

The Ballard's said...

Good read. I would move the cereal.