Origins and History

April Fool’s Day. Twenty-one minutes to midnight and I haven’t committed a prank of any kind; I don’t think I’ve had a credible opportunity, and I think clutching my chest and rolling my eyes back in my head has lost some of its comic appeal. Anyway. Someone asked me yesterday about the origins of April Fool’s Day, and I automatically answered “something Roman, like the rest of our holidays.” But in fact, checking estimable online resources such as Wikipedia and such like, I find the delightful fact that there’s no consensus on how April Fool’s got started. The guess most commonly hazarded among Fool’s scholars is that the timing of the day has something to do with a peculiarity in pre-Gregorian calendar days: New Year’s Day was celebrated just after the vernal equinox (Great Britain didn’t change New Year’s from March 25 to January 1 until 1752). So April Fool’s Day might have something to do with old new year celebrations. Or not.

Wait a minute … wait a minute … I’m having a pain in my chest.

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