If you’re an OG prankster, there’s a high chance that you look forward to April 1 every single year – because it means you can unleash your best pranks without ending up in the dog house. Score! This is because April Fools’ Day is synonymous with pranking and tomfoolery, and it’s the day where it’s totally acceptable to joke around with those nearest and dearest to you. Of course, not everyone enjoys April Fools’ Day, and those who live with those who do enjoy the day spend their day crouched in a corner waiting for a paint bucket to fall on their heads, or a fake spider to roll over their legs. Yet, have you ever wondered why we call it April Fools’ Day and why it’s synonymous with pranking? Well, here’s everything you need to know…
Getting hilarious in Hilaria
There are so many different theories about how April Fools’ Day came about – and none of them have actually been confirmed, so it’s all about the speculation. Just as we live in mystery about whether our partner will prank us or not on the glorious day, we will also live in mystery as to the history behind the day! One of the first theories comes from ancient history when the ancient Greeks and Romans would celebrate the famous festival of Hilaria. This festival celebrated the life of the Greek Mother of Gods, Cybele, and would feature masquerades, parades, dances, jokes and more. While this normally took place on March 25, many believe it could have changed over the years.
Okay, that’s supposed to be ‘Poppin’ – but you’ve gotta work with what you’ve got. If you’re familiar with the Gregorian calendar, you’ll know that our ol’ pal Julius Caesar introduced it to the world in the 16th Century to celebrate the life of Pope Gregory XIII. Before this, we were living in a world ruled by the Julian calendar, which stated that the new year occurred at the end of March, rather than at the end of December. Unfortunately, there were some people who didn’t get the memo that the date for the New Year had changed during this era, and tried to celebrate the day on April 1st – which meant that they looked a little foolish celebrating a day which didn’t actually mean anything. It’s believed that this initial foolishness paved the way for jokes, pranks and more.
Yet, one of the most widely regarded stories behind April Fools’ Day relates to one of the most famous writers of all time; Geoffrey Chaucer. In 1392, Geoffrey wowed us all when he released his iconic book, The Canterbury Tales. Many believe that he was the original instigator of April Fools’ Day, as he hinted towards the witty day within his stories. In fact, within his hilarious story, ‘The Nun’s Priest’s Tale’ (which you should definitely read), Chaucer wrote that the events of the story took place on “March 32” – which obviously doesn’t exist. Experts suggest that Chaucer knew this, but was using this new date to put a playful spin on the first day of April. From this, many have associated the day with making others feel foolish and unintelligent.
Sadly, we’re no closer to learning which theory is the correct one – but it’s fair to say that each theory is just as cool as the other. So, to make it fairer, we’ll just let you choose which theory you want to believe. Who will it be? Cybele? The Pope? Geoffrey Chaucer? The choice is yours…