The first three months of 2014 are come and gone. A pause in the hard work completed so far this year, today marks the celebration of the fool.
Like many informal holidays, April 1 was developed over centuries and by mixing cultures and traditions:
– March 25 was a roman festival Hilaria, borrowed from the Greeks to mark the end of winter gloom and celebrate a better season
– a copying error in Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales (1392) may have refined the date to April 1st. A story where a vain cock was tricked by a fox was set “Syn March bigan thritty dayes and two. “ This was a typo during copying and should have been Syn March was gon.
– many middle age French towns celebrated New Year’s Day on March 25th and celebrations lasted a week, ending April 1. Those who celebrated New Years on January 1 made fun of those who celebrated April 1.
– Iran has the oldest prank-tradition documented, Sizdah Bedar was celebrated as far back as 536 BC on April 1 or 2.
– In 1957, the BBC pulled a prank, known as the Swiss Spaghetti Harvest prank, where they broadcast a fake film of Swiss farmers picking freshly-grown spaghetti. The BBC were later flooded with requests to purchase a spaghetti plant, forcing them to declare the film a prank on the news the next day. A list of other pranks can be found here
It is an interesting commentary on human nature that we celebrate mischievous pranks every year.
It’s a reminder not to take ourselves too seriously. Life is too short not to have some fun!
Until next time,
Stay SILLY 🙂