first of April is the day we remember what we are the other 364
days of the year." - Mark Twain
off... I've finally come to the conclusion that there's to no
one singular origin to the widespread phenomenon of "April
Fools Day." April Fools Day has been celebrated and observed
for centuries in various countries and cultures, for different
reasons, all over the world.
a fool would be bold enough to proclaim that they know the
answer to the origin of April Fools Day. That's because there
is no one definitive answer to its origin. What follows is
of the origins, most related to Western Tropical astrology.
(And I won't swear to you that I'm exactly right on all the
Equinox and Easter
To get started... many of us assume January 1 has always been
pretty much the day traditionally set aside for celebrating the
beginning of a new year. Not so.
14th to 16th century A.D., much of the Western world celebrated
the new year on one of two days. Folks
either celebrated the new year with a party that lasted from March
25 to April 1 - or they celebrated the coming of the new year
on Easter, commemorating the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
we all know, the date for Easter varies from year to year. However,
during that period of time (using the "Julian Calendar"),
Easter normally occurred around the first part of the month in April.
April 1 in the "Julian Calendar" was likewise approximately
the beginning of Spring in the Northern Hemisphere - as marked by
the "vernal equinox."
is why, in Western Tropical astrology, the Tropical Zodiac
still begins it's
yearly cycle in the Zodiac sign of Aries, marked by the "vernal
equinox" and the beginning of Spring in the Northern
1582 AD, Pope Gregory XIII introduced a spiffy new and improved
calendar for the "Christian world," and in this calendar
(now called the "Gregorian Calendar") the beginning
of the new year was changed and was now declared to fall on January
1 (more closely aligning the celebration of the new year with
the birth of Jesus Christ).
days were deleted from the calendar, so that October 4, 1582 was
followed by October 15, 1582. This change caused the vernal equinox
(the first day of Spring) of 1583, and all subsequent years, to
occur about March 21. Some years, such as the years 2000, 2001,
and 2002, the first day of Spring occurs on March 20.
you confused yet? I know I am - but, all of the above, really does
have a purpose.
Fools and France
From 1363 AD on, France was one of those Western World countries
having the tradition of celebrating the new year on Easter. The
story goes that in 1563 AD a young pompous King Charles IX (born
1550 AD– died 1574 AD) declared to his subjects that heretofore
New Year's Day would be celebrated on January 1. (Notice this
is prior to the "Gregorian calendar" change and the
pope's edict in 1582 AD)
this happened, there were some folks who apparently either hadn't
heard word of the king's edict or who had decided to stubbornly
"stick to their guns" and defy the young king's edict
- and, thus, they continued celebrating New Year's Day on Easter.
now... that Easter normally occurred around the first part of
the month in April.
people, continuing to celebrate New Year's Day on Easter, were
given the moniker of being "April Fools." It wasn't
until 1567 AD that most of France finally got with the king's
program and began celebrating New Year's Day on January 1. The
French tradition of sending folks out on a "fool's errand"
then began with a vengeance.
in France, April 1 is called "Poisson d'Avril." The tradition
is that French children fool their friends by taping a paper fish
to their friends' backs. When the "April Fool" discovers
this trick, the trickster yells "Poisson d’Avril!"
(meaning: April Fish!)
origin of this French "fish tradition" is officially
considered to be "unknown."
However, it makes quite a bit of sense that the origin behind
tradition" is that the Sun has now left winter and Pisces
(the fishes) the final Sign of of the Zodiacal cycle and has
into the new birth and new hope of springtime in the Zodiac
Sign of Aries (the ram).
back to Weird and Wonderful