Everyone knows that the first day of April is a day to watch out for pranks and hoaxes. Few people really know where the “holiday” originated and what it really means. It actually dates back centuries, although historians are not completely sure where the tradition first came into play.
One theory is that it all began back in the 1500’s when France altered its calendar to make the new year start in January and match the Roman calendar. Up until then, the French calendar had the year actually starting with the onset of spring. In those days, information didn’t get around as fast as it does in the modern era, and many people in outlying areas continued to observe the new year in spring as it had been for many years before that. Those that did so were regarded as “April fools.” However, France traditionally celebrated the new year on Easter, not April 1st, so the theory does not explain why the first day of April became what it is today.
Whatever the reason, April Fools’ Day is alive and well, and you can bet that you will hear some outlandish story tomorrow that will inevitably end with “April Fools.”