It was a sunny Wisconsin morning the first time it happened. My mother screamed and ran into our bedroom waking my sister Patty and me from a sound slumber. I thought my small heart would explode. I bolted from our shared bed and followed her to the picture window of our apartment.
“There’s a purple polka-dotted elephant walking down the street!” she shouted.
When my little sister joined me in squinting through the glaring window, she said, “April Fools,” and then laughed. I didn’t think it was very funny at the time.
Through the years, I have played tricks on friends and family. My children ran to the window searching for purple giraffes, along with other strange colored creatures. I know. I am so mean. It must be genetic. Every year, I have tried to come up with new ways to trick my husband, such as, “By the way, we’re having company for dinner, so if you could stop and pick up some wine and a few things at the grocery store and then come home early to help me clean, that would be great. (Wait for it…) APRIL FOOLS!” The relief on his face is always worth it!
Yesterday, I checked my phone’s April calendar and noticed little lines under the some of the dates. I didn’t remember saving any appointments, so I checked them out. April 22nd is Earth Day. The 15th is dreaded Tax Day. And the 1st is… April Fools’ Day!
Wait a minute… It occurred to me that if phones list April Fools’ as a holiday, everyone will know and no one will be fooled. That could begin the extinction of the holiday!
Ugh. That would be terrible. I have always looked forward to a day of pranking.
April Fools in Denmark. No. A subway car did not crash through the ground…
How did it begin anyway? There are conflicting reports which is no surprise since this is April Fools we are talking about. The following explanation gets my vote. During the Middle Ages, the first of the year was celebrated at the end of March. Then in the 1500’s, Pope Gregory XIII changed the Gregorian Calendar to start on January 1st. Bells would toll across the land to “fool” other fools into thinking the 1st of the year still began in April.
I never noticed that the Pope named the calendar after himself! He died on April 10th. Irony or coincidence???
During the 1800’s in France, the first of the year changed to January 1st. People who celebrated on April 1st were ridiculed in that country as well.
“Ha. You peasants are such idiots…”
Today, in Italy, France, and Belgium, pranksters will stick a picture of a fish on their unsuspecting target’s back and then shout, “April Fish!”
WHAT? That is so lame! How did that one start? Were they fed up with being called fools and substituted fish? And did they originally use real fish back in the day? Did they use minnows or mackerels? Apparently, that variation has something to do with the astrological sign Pisces.
April Fools’ Day will be celebrated in many countries today. Thanks Wikipedia for that specific information. How will we play any practical jokes if everyone knows and is already suspicious? My advice is to strike early before your friends and family have their first cup of coffee.
“Roxy! Look at that pink coyote trotting down the street!”
Consider this heads up, my gift to you. Now get out there and prank someone!
Do you plan to fool anyone?