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The History of April Fools’ Day… Maybe

April Fools’ Day is celebrated on April 1.   It appears only speculation exists as to where the celebration originated and for what reason.

The most common theory is that it dates to 1582 when France adopted the Gregorian Calendar.  At his time, New Year’s Day moved from April 1 to January 1.   Because some people either did not hear about the change due to slow communication, or… through stubbornness… refused to accept the date change, April 1 became known as Fool’s Day.

The tradition evolved over the years and eventually spread to Britain and Scotland in the 1700s and then on to the American colonies as they were settled by the English and French.

In Rome, the holiday is called the Festival of Hilaria, in celebration of the resurrection of the god Attis.  It is also referred to as the “Roman Laughing Day”, but is celebrated on March 25.

April Fools’ Day in Portugal is celebrated on both Sunday and Monday before lent.  During the celebration, flour is thrown on friends.

In India, the Huli Festival is celebrated on March 31.  The day is spent playing jokes and smearing colored paints on each other to celebrate the arrival of spring.

No matter the origination, it looks like merriment and a joke are an international pastime.

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Judy W Bell

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