It's that time of year again - the time when you actually have permission to prank your friends! That's right, April Fool's Day is almost here and you probably have something in mind already for your friends, but have you ever wondered how this odd little holiday came to be? While there is nothing in the volumes of history to let us know exactly how it originated, it is commonly believed that it came about in 16th century France when the Gregorian calendar was adopted and New Year's Day changed from April 1 to January 1. People who continued to celebrate the New Year using the old calendar were labeled "Fools" and were subjected to pranks.
Around the World: April Fool's Day
In France, the country that we credit for the origination of the holiday, the day is known as "Poisson d'Avril," which literally translated means "Fish of April." This holiday is for the children. They color paper fish, which then they try to stick to the backs of as many adults as they can. Once the adult finds the fish the child yells out "Poisson d'Avril!"
In Germany, the holiday is said to have originated when a currency change was to occur on April 1, 1530 in Augsburg. Several opportunists were hoping to profit from change to unify the currency. Sadly for them, the law was not enacted and the speculators lost their money, bringing ridicule from many in the town.
This incident is said to be the beginning of April Fool's Day in Germany. By the late 1700s, the practice of running fictitious news stories on April 1st, soon became the hallmark of the day. One such notable story ran in The German Gardener's News and touted new varieties of glowing plants--Sunflower Lamps--that gave off so much light, one could read by it.
In Scotland they enjoy the day so much they spend two days celebrating. April 1 used to be called"hunitgowks" day, from hunting gowks, or cuckoo birds, referring to foolish people. Traditionally, the unwitting person is asked to deliver a message. Upon opening the note, the recipient reads the following: "Dinna laugh, dinna smile. Hunt the gowk another mile." The recipient responds to the messenger that he will only help if the messenger will run again. The recipient writes the message again, and thus the poor fool is caught in the loop of never ending messages. The second day is called Taily Day and is filled with pranks and foolishness having to do with rumps, and is thought to be the origin of the sign, "Kick me."
Ever serious, Canada and the UK restrict the Tom Foolery to the mornings, so if you want to play pranks in these stoic regions, you best be up with the sun. Anyone playing pranks in the afternoon becomes the fool.
Whatever you do, a nice pull on a tasty vapor, like our delicious Blackberry Limoncello, is the best way to finish up your foolishness.