April Fools marks the one day each year when pranksters are encouraged to try to make “fools” of their friends. Here are five facts and trivia in honor of this year’s April Fools’ Day (No Joke!).
April Fools Day exists because some people wanted to celebrate New Year in Spring.
The exact history behind April Fools’ Day is unclear, but there’s one widely believed theory for how it became an annual day of trickery. According to Discovery.com, the holiday stems from people who refused to adopt the Gregorian calendar in favor of the older Julian calendar when it was established in the 16th century Europe. The new calendar moved the New Year from April first to January first. People who refused to recognize the change were reportedly subjected to pranks and ridicule and were rumored to have been called “April Fools.” Celebrating the New Year in spring actually doesn’t sound like such a bad idea to me. At least I could go watch the fireworks without freezing my face.
April Fools Day is also called April Fish Day.
Canada and the United States aren’t the only countries to join in on the sneaky festivities. In France, where the day of pranks is rumored to have originated, the pranking day is referred to as “Poisson d’Avril” (April Fish). Children tape a paper fish to a friend’s back, and then when the young fool discovers the trick, the prankster yells “April Fish!”
April Fools Day is responsible for those silly “Kick me” signs.
In Scotland, April Fools’ lasts two days. It starts off with “Hunt-the-Gowk” (Cuckoo) Day. A gowk is the unwitting victim of a practical joke. The second day of the holiday is Taily Day. That’s “tail” as in a person’s bottom. The focus is on pulling a prank that’ll result in the victim somehow getting thwacked on their fanny. Reportedly, this is the origin of all those silly “kick me” signs.
In response to a prank, hundreds of fools requested spaghetti tree seeds.
In 1957, the BBC reported that there was a bumper harvest of “spaghetti crops” in Switzerland. Hundreds of people phoned the network to request information on growing their own spaghetti trees, completely oblivious to the fact that it was an April Fools’ Joke.
Some of us are fools year-round, not just on one day in April.
It can be fun to be an April Fools’ prankster, but it’s not nearly as fun to be labelled a fool. Nevertheless, “fool” is the very label the Bible uses for individuals who don’t listen to God’s instruction. According to Proverbs, you are a fool if:
- You think you’re always right: “The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man listens to advice.” (Proverbs 12:15)
- You gab, blab and don’t listen: “A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion.” (Proverbs 18:2)
- You vent, rant and bluster: “A fool gives full vent to his spirit, but a wise man quietly holds it back.” (Proverbs 29:11)
- You react when insulted: “The vexation of a fool is known at once, but the prudent ignores an insult.” (Proverbs 12:16)
- You rush right in: “One who is wise is cautious and turns away from evil, but a fool is reckless and careless.” (Proverbs 14:16)
- You don’t take sin seriously: “Doing wrong is like a joke to a fool, but wisdom is pleasure to a man of understanding.” (Proverbs 10:23)
- You rely on your own smarts: “Whoever trusts in his own mind is a fool, but he who walks in wisdom will be delivered.” (Proverbs 28:26)
Ephesians 5:15 warns us to take care to walk not as unwise but as wise. “Do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.” If we want to be wise, we’ll take this April Fools Day advice and listen to what God has to say. Otherwise, we’ll end up being fools year-round.