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The Daily Eastern News

The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

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The history of April Fools’ Day

The+history+of+April+Fools+Day

April Fools’ Day’s history is one of pure mystery, as not even historians know where, when or even why the holiday started.

There are some clues that historians have found that might point in the right direction of the holiday’s origins.

Most sources will point in the direction of the European Renaissance. This period is seen to have many cultures celebrating it each year.  

The medieval celebration of the feast of fools might be one of the bigger starting points for the holiday.

According to an NPR article, the feast of fools would have people choose a fake bishop, archbishop, pope or other members of the clergy. These fake clergy would then put on a performance for the people while a feast was held to commemorate the beginning of spring. At the time, spring was seen as the beginning of the year.  

Another theory of how the holiday began can be found documented in a piece by History.com. Back in 1582, the holiday began as a way to poke fun at people that did not adopt the use of the Gregorian calendar. 

Some people continued to use the Julian calendar, as back then it was harder to spread the information that a new and improved calendar system had been adopted. The big change in the calendar happened when the Council of Trent in France made the decision to change it.  

Moving to the Gregorian calendar meant that the year now started in the winter, not the spring.  

So, when the news spread slowly of a calendar switch, people were still celebrating the new year at the start of April. Three months late to the party, these celebrators were known as the April Fools.  

Maybe one day historians may find the real starting point for the age-old holiday of April Fools’ Day. But for now, the modern-day humans must sit and speculate.  

Most holidays have mascots that are associated with them. April Fools’ Day is just like the rest, having the April Fool as the holiday’s mascot.  

The April Fool most commonly refers to a person that has fallen victim to a joke or prank on the day, but there are other versions of this holiday mascot. 

Depictions of the earliest April Fool are of medieval court jesters pretending to take the place of the pope for the day.  

April Fools’ Day is celebrated all over the world, and it can be a mixed bag for most. Does one truly celebrate this holiday, or does one simply skip out on the day of fools? 

Pranks are a staple of the day. Many pranksters will be out and about to celebrate the holiday.  

If you are someone that does not want to end up as the April Fool, then heed this warning: stay aware of some of these common pranks you might come across. 

  • A kick me sign is all fun in games… until someone gets kicked. 
  • Someone might ask you if you want some gum, but to your shock, you’ll be getting a zap from some fake shock chewing gum.  
  • Maybe at work someone tells you that you missed a call from someone with the phone number 248-434-5508. You call back just to find out you have been rickrolled.
  • Oh boy, it’s your lucky day. A quarter on the ground, don’t mind if… hey. Oh no, you have been tricked by a prankster that glued the coin to the floor.  

With all different sorts of jokes and pranks occurring, it can be scary. So look out, be careful who you trust and of course, remember to keep a good sense of humor this April Fools’ Day.  


Gunnar Olson can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected].

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About the Contributor
Gunnar Olson, Newsletter Developer
Gunnar Olson is a junior broadcast journalism major and can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].

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