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The History Behind April Fools Day

Megan Mikesell and Aaron Wagner, Reporters

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We all know April Fools is a day for pulling pranks, but why do we do this? Although April Fools Day has been celebrated for centuries by many cultures, History.com reports that its exact origins remain a mystery.

The earliest reference to April Fools Day arguably took place in “The Canterbury Tales” in 1392. The book mentions “32 March”, which is thought to be a joke because there isn’t a March 32.

Many also trace the origins of the day back to the 1500’s. This is when the Christian calendar was switched from the Julian calendar, which was introduced by Julius Caesar, to the Gregorian calendar named for Pope Gregory XIII. The change moved the new year from April to January. Those still celebrating the new year in April became the butt of jokes and hoaxes.

Another possible origin is the ancient Greco-Roman festival of Hilaria. This festival involved parades, people dressing up in disguises, and jokes to celebrate the vernal equinox, or first day of spring. The first day of spring was also looked at as a time when Mother Nature pulled pranks with the unpredictable and changing weather.

By the Eighteenth century, the day spread to Britain where everyone had fun pranking each other and going great lengths with it. In Scotland, April Fools became a two day event where they put “kick me” signs on each other backs. After this, April’s Fools started to become popular and spread throughout the world. Newspapers, radio, and tv stations have even participated in the April fools events.

Today, April fools is a fun event that everyone can join in to make each other laugh with silly and safe pranks. Everyone wants a day to where they could pull pranks on each other and have fun with it.

“What is the best April Fool’s Day prank you have pulled or have had pulled on you?”

Seth Myers, Junior: “I convinced Jack Parker that I was transferring to Prep.”

Elliott Grucza, Junior: “I changed the clocks in my house.”

Brett Mallory, Senior: “I put a rubber band on the sink faucet.”

Aiden Michaelis, Freshman: “I got a bucket of water for an alarm from my dad.”

Katelyn Doutt, Freshman: “I put food coloring on a toothbrush.”

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The History Behind April Fools Day