Origin: April Fool’s Day

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There are numerous stories on the origin of April Fool’s Day. The most widespread theory originates from 1564 when France formally changed its calendar to the modern Gregorian version. Under the Julian calendar, the New Year was celebrated during the week between March 25 and April 1, but under the Gregorian calendar, it was moved to Jan. 1. Those who were not notified of the change, or stubbornly kept to the old tradition, were often mocked and had jokes played on them on or around the old New Year.  In France, this took the form of pranksters sticking fish on the backs of those who celebrated the old custom, earning the victims of the prank the name Poisson d’Avril, or April Fish.

The problem with that story is that the adoption of the new calendar was a gradual process that took place over a century, making the ridicule of those who continued to celebrate the old date seem unlikely.   Read more…