Have you ever found yourself wondering when or why April Fools Day came to be? Who came up with the crazy idea that on April 1st, we should all try to pull pranks on our usually unwitting family members, friends, neighbors, and colleagues? And why on April 1st of all days?

April Fools Day is Not a Modern Invention

Unlikely, though it may seem, April Fools Day is not a new invention. In fact, it has been around for hundreds of years. Some historians speculate that it might even have been around for thousands of years.

The interesting thing about April Fools Day is that no one is actually entirely certain when or why it came to be. There are many theories, however, that have been thrown around over the years.

What do Historians Speculate?

While no one is entirely sure when or why April Fool’s Day came to be, there are several different theories that historians have come up with. Some claim that it originated in the Netherlands in the 16th century, others attribute it to Roman Hiliaria, a spring festival held around March 25th on which many Romans would play games, hold processions, host masquerades, and be involved in no end of tomfoolery. Another popular theory suggests that it started because of missed memo.

One Possible Origin Involves a Missed Memo

Some historians speculate that April Fool’s Day started back in 1582. To understand why, first we must take a look at a calendar, or rather, two calendars. The Julian Calendar and the Gregorian calendar.

The Origin of April Fools Day

I won’t go into much detail about either calendar in this video. The important information that we need is simply that previous to the year 1582, France was still using the Julian Calendar. According to this calendar, New Years Day falls right around the spring equinox, around the beginning of April.

The Origin of April Fools Day

In 1582, as instructed by Pope Gregory XIII, France decided to stop using the Julian Calendar and switch to the Gregorian calendar, said to more accurate.

Some unfortunate citizens of France, however, missed the memo. They had no idea France had switched calendars and that therefore, News Years was on January 1st and not on April 1st.

The Origin of April Fools Day

These poor, unfortunate, ignorant, people were publicly mocked when they celebrated News Years in April that year and were called ‘April Fools’. They became the butt of other people jokes and became the victims of petty pranks. A foreshadow of our modern April Fools Day.

The Origin of April Fools Day

Whether or not this is the actual origin of that prank-filled holiday known to us now, we won’t ever know. Unfortunately, it is something that will forever remain a mystery.

What is the True Origin of April Fools Day?

The origin of April Fool’s Day is something that is shrouded in mystery. We will likely never know how it came to be; but that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy the theories that historians have come up or pull a prank or two of our own.

The beauty of April Fools Day being a mystery is that we can choose for ourselves which origin story we think is true. Does the calendar switch theory mentioned above, sound like the most likely origin to you?

Watch the Origin of April Fools Day Video

Want to see more April Fools Day related content? If so, then please watch the True Historical Friction Origin of April Fools Day YouTube video to see one of history’s craziest and most widely-believed April Fools Pranks ever! It is hard to believe that so many people actually thought this prank to be true. Check it out and see if you too, would have been fooled.

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