The weather in New York yesterday surely had to be an early April Fool’s joke! Just when you think Spring is coming….we get hit with a snow storm! It sparked a conversation between colleagues and I decided to investigate the origins of April Fool’s Day.
There are varying theories about when and where April Fool’s Day began. I consulted a few of our online encyclopedias and found Grolier Online to have the most convincing and sensible answer (well sensible for April Fool’s day anyway).
The entry explains that there was a calendar change in France in 1564. Previous to this new calendar, New Year’s Day had been celebrated on April 1st. Those who refused to change New Year’s Day to January 1st and continued to celebrate in April were subjected to jokes and pranks. They became known as poisson d’avril or April fish.
The trend eventually made its way to England in the 18th century where it became more widely adopted and most likely how it eventually became well known in the United States.
But, you don’t have to take my word for it! You can check out the different entries regarding All Fool’s Day in our encyclopedia subscriptions.
Citation: April Fool’s Day. (2014). Encyclopedia Americana. Retrieved March 31, 2014, from Grolier Online http://ea.grolier.com/article?id=0018900-00