April Fool(s) Day

Many European countries, along with the US, celebrate April Fool(s) Day by playing practical jokes and participating in hoaxes on each other. Oddly, there is no real origin for it. If you try to read up on it, no one source is definitive and no two sources seem to agree on when it started or where.

The day of celebration seems to have sprung up in many different places at different times and for different reasons, but always celebrated on the 1st of April. There are many theories on it though.

For example, some have postulated that it was perhaps started in the Nordic countries as a way to celebrate the end of cabin fever season. Unfortunately, for this theory, many places in Norway and Sweden still get plenty of snow in April. Another theory speculates it was the last day of fun before the planting season began in the interior European countries such as France and Germany. Others blame Chaucer. In The Canterbury Tales the nun tells a story about a priest and it happens on the 32nd of March. Which would be April 1 (since there are only 31 days in March). However, this too is unlikely, as the line was probably mistranslated from the ancient English of Chaucer’s day (the 1300s). And Chaucer’s Nun’s Tale is most likely told as happening 31 days after March ended or May 2nd.

In France there is a game played where school aged children try to attach paper fish to the backs of as many adults as possible and it’s called “poisson d’Avril” or April Fish. Leading to the theory that it arose to mark the return of good fishing to the coasts of France. Which is every bit as improbable as celebrating the end of cabin fever days, since cold currents from the Atlantic do not magically shift into warm waters at the end of March and often the fishing remains the same, regardless of the time of year. Still others have tried to connect it to Easter and the end of the Great Flood. But there’s no real evidence for those either.

Regardless of where it came from or when or why, most of us today run the risk of falling afoul of some person’s prank or hoax. Aside from the day, the other standard tradition for April Fool(s) Day is that the pranks and hoaxes are supposed to be good natured. Meaning blowing up toilets with cherry bombs is a terrible idea, because it is mean spirited.

If you are the prankster or hoaxer, keep the blows light hearted and fun. And if you haven’t read The Canterbury Tales, I highly recommend it. It is reflective of the time, in a way that is both scandalous and eye opening. It was written in 1392, after all and a good portion of Europe was dead by then. There was great social upheaval as feudalism fell and people were just thankfully to have survived the Black Death (most of the book is basically pilgrims sharing bawdy stories about sexual encounters to pass the time while they dine together).

(PS: I killed Aislinn at the end of Deranged Dreams)

3 thoughts on “April Fool(s) Day

  1. Even after what I just read and giving my sister a birthday card filled with confetti and a free coffee, you still managed to make my heart stop for a second or two. FYI also gave the waitress a big tip for making a mess.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s