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  Weekly Feature: (April 1, 2006)


April Fool's Day
Paul's Weekly Feature


In many counties, the first day of April is referred to as either “April Fool’s Day,” or “All Fool’s Day.”  This Day carries its name from the custom of fooling family, friends, and colleagues through trickery, pranks, and practical jokes.

While there are different beliefs on the history and origin of this Day, the most widely accepted theory, sometimes referred to as the “Calendar-Change Theory,” pinpoints the origin to France.  This theory suggests that April Fool’s Day began in the late sixteenth century, when France became the first country to switch from the Julian calendar to the Gregorian calendar. 

Under the Julian calendar, New Year’s celebrations started on March 25th and continued until April 1.  As a consequence of adopting the Gregorian calendar, however, the beginning of the calendar year moved from the end of March, to January 1.  Those who forgot the calendar change and thus continued celebrating New Year's as before—from late March to April 1—were teased as "April fools” and subjected to ridicule and embarrassment.

This mockery and humiliation evolved, over time, into a tradition of humorous prank-playing and trickery on the first day of April. Over centuries, this practice has spread from its roots in Europe to many countries and cultures worldwide.   April Fool’s Day has thus developed into somewhat of an international common occasion, with people of different nationalities applying their own cultural form of humor at the expense of their friends and families.

April Fool's Day is neither a day of celebration, nor is it a holiday.  It is merely a "for-fun-only" observance, a time to play a hoax on others while mastering one’s skills at avoiding being fooled.  

For reference and further detail, check these sites:

April Fool's Day Origins

The Origin of April Fool's Day

April Fool's Day

For some classic and/or practical hoaxes and pranks, see these sites:

The Top 100 April Fools Day Hoaxes of All Time

Family Fun


Multiple Choice Questions
( answers available below)

 1. What are some ways to fool others on April Fool’s Day?

     a. Trickery
     b. Pranks
     c. Practical jokes
     d. a, b, and c

 2. There is only one theory on the history and origin of April Fool’s Day!

     a. True
     b. False

 3. In which years was the Gregorian calendar first adopted?

    a. late 1500’s.
    b. late 1600’s

 4. Those teased as “April Fools” forgot that the calendar year had been switched to begin on

     a. April 1
     b. Late March
     c. January 1

 5. Strong evidence suggests that the April Fool’s Day tradition had started in

     a. Asia
     b. North America
     c. Europe
     d. Africa

6. April Fool’s Day is a / an

     a. Holiday
     b. Observance
     c. Celebration

7. The first day of April is a time to

     a. Embarrass others
     b. Hurt others
     c. Make fun of others
     d. Have fun with others through humorous pranks and practical jokes






Answers: 1. d ; 2. b; 3. a; 4. c.; 5. c; 6. b; 7. d.   



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