April Fools’ Day is widely celebrated throughout most of Western Europe, Canada, the United States and Brazil, but why? Why do we prank one another at the start of a new month? What makes April more foolish than January or May? We at the Clog were curious, so we did some investigating.
As it turns out, no one really knows exactly from where the holiday stems, but it has existed since the Medieval period. Just think: Great historical figures such as Henry VIII, Leonardo da Vinci or Benjamin Franklin could have been pranking their friends, just like we do!
There are several theories as to the origins of the holiday. April used to mark the beginning of a new year, but the calendar was changed to a January start date when the Gregorian calendar became the standard in 1582. Those who continued to follow April start dates were considered “April fools.”
Others believe the foolishness stems from the reign of Roman emperor Constantine the Great. As legend goes, during a court performance, a jester named Kugel claimed he could do a better job of ruling than Constantine, which made Constantine laugh. He then allowed Kugel to rule for the day. Kugel put out a decree of “absurdity” for the day, which was then celebrated annually to remember his rule, as jesters were highly respected because much of their humor was wise satire.
Still others believe that there’s just something funny about spring, as many cultures have fun and light-hearted festivals and holidays celebrated around the equinox, such as Holi in India and Purim on the Hebrew calendar.
Whatever the reason may be, we at the Clog are always looking for a lighthearted laugh and are thankful for the opportunities on April Fools’ Day.
Image Source: benchristen