In short

Although the origins of April Fool's Day are unknown, there are many theories surrounding it. In 1508, the French poet Eloy d'Amerval referred to an April Fool's Day, perhaps the first reference to the celebration in France. Some historians suggest that April Fool's Day originated because in the Middle Ages, New Year's Day was celebrated on March 25 in most European cities, with a public holiday that in some parts of France ended the 1st of April.

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April Fool's Day, the old new year

The use of the 1st January as New Year's Day did not become common in France until the mid-16th century, and this date was not officially adopted until 1564, by the Edict of Roussillon, when France switched from the Julian calendar to the Gregorian calendar, as requested at the Council of Trent in 1563. 

However, there are problems with this theory as there is an unambiguous reference to April Fool's Day in a 1561 poem by the Flemish poet Eduard de Not of a nobleman who sends his servants on foolish errands on April 1, before the change. April Fools' Day was also an established tradition in Britain before January 1 was established as the start of the calendar year.

In the United Kingdom, an April Fool's prank is sometimes revealed later by shouting "April Fools!" » in the recipient, which becomes “April Fools”. A study in the 1950s, by folklorists Iona and Peter Opie, found that in the United Kingdom and countries whose traditions derive from the United Kingdom, this continues to be the practice, with the custom ceasing at midday, after which it is no longer acceptable to play pranks. Thus, a person playing a prank after noon is himself considered “April Fools”.

In Scotland, April Fool's Day was originally called "Huntigowk Day". The name is a corruption of "hunt the gowk", gowk being Scottish for a cuckoo or a foolish person; alternative terms in Gaelic would be Là na Gocaireachd, 'gowking day', or Là Ruith na Cuthaige, 'the day of the cuckoo run'. The traditional prank involves asking someone to deliver a sealed message that supposedly asks for help of some sort. 

In fact, the message says "Dinna laugh, Dinna smile." Chase the gowk another mile. » The recipient, upon reading it, will explain that they can only help if they first contact another person, and send the victim to that next person with an identical message, with the same result.

In Poland, prima aprilis (“April First” in Latin) as a prank day is a centuries-old tradition. It is a day when many pranks are played: hoaxes – sometimes very sophisticated – are prepared by people, media (which often cooperate to make the “information” more credible) and even public institutions. Serious activities are usually avoided and usually every word spoken on April 1 could be wrong. The conviction is so strong that the Polish anti-Turkish alliance with Leopold I, signed on April 1, 1683, is backdated to March 31.

April Fool's Day is widely celebrated in Odessa and has the special local name Humorina – in Ukrainian Гуморина (Humorina). An April Fool's prank is revealed by saying "Первое Апреля, никому не верю" ("Pervoye Aprelya, nikomu ne veryu") – meaning "April First, I don't trust anyone" – to the recipient. The festival includes a large parade through the city center, free concerts, street fairs and performances.

Festival participants dress up in a variety of costumes and wander around the city having fun and playing pranks on passersby. One of the April Fools' traditions is to dress up the city's main landmark in funny clothes. Humorina even has its own logo – a cheerful sailor in a lifebuoy – the author of which was artist Arkady Tsykun.

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Today is April Fool's Day. Originally, it was a courier bringing his master's love letters. In the 17th century, April Fool's Day became an act aimed at forcing someone to do unnecessary acts to make fun of them. Customs vary greatly and origins are highly contested. #mythology #myth #legend #calendar #April 1 #Aprilfish


April Fool