The History of April Fools’ Day

April Fools’ Day became a household name for as long as one can remember.

Many people around the world simply participate in this unofficial holiday every year even though they do not know why it became such a thing. So, what does this day really signify?

According to historians, the April Fools’ Day, which is also called “All Fools’ Day”, came all the way from France.

During the early 16th century, Pope Gregory XIII promulgated a Papal bull (public decree) changing their Julian calendar to Gregorian calendar where the start of the year moved from April 1st to January 1st.

There were many French people who did not receive the news immediately and continued to celebrate New Year’s Day on April 1st. These folks were soon referred to as “April fools” and became the center of jokes and pranks.

One of the early pranks includes taping a paper fish on one’s back. Once the victim discovers it, the prankster will yell “Poisson d’Avril (April fish), which means a fish that can easily be caught or naive.

Photo from Wikimedia Commons

In ancient Rome, the April Fools’ Day was associated with their festival called Hilaria, where people disguise themselves by dressing up during the end of March.

In the eighteenth century, natives of Scotland started the prank tradition which was held for two days where during the first day, they will ask fake chores to the victim they called as gowk (a cuckoo bird and a representation for a fool).

On the second day called Tailie Day, they will secretly stick a tail or a sign with “kick me” on a victim’s behind.

Photo from Youtube

Fast forward to modern times, people are amusingly still active in doing tricks and pranks which are usually done through digital or social media.

A popular prank from the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) was a report released in 1957 where people in southern Switzerland joyfully ‘harvested’ spaghetti noodles from the trees.

Source :

CNN, History