So today we are going into the long and very complete history of April Fools Day, (April Fools). Actually, the exact history of All Fool’s day (another name for April Fool’s day) is not well known. In fact there are several theories on how this crazy day got started, and we are going to explore some of the good ones.
Let’s start with what we know, historians agree that on April 1, in the 1700’s, English pranksters started playing practical jokes on this day specifically. This eventually spread to other countries and became the holiday tradition we all know and “love.” But this is where our knowledge ends and speculation begins.
Theory 1: The Big Step Down
One theory about the history of April fools involves King George III and Louis XVI. Some historians say that when the French deposed Louis XVI, King George III decided to play a prank on the entire English people. On April 1, 1789 King George III pretended to step down. When the people found out hundreds celebrated their new “freedom,” unfortunately all these people were arrested when the king revealed his little joke. Best Prank Ever!?
Theory 2: Calendar Fools
According to Huffington Post, the most logical reason for April Fools’ day was the Gregorian Calendar, they say that when the Council of Trent made the Gregorian calendar the standard for Christian countries, France was late in changing the new year date from April 1st to January 1st. This prompted other countries to mock them and people placed what they called the “poisson d’avril” (April fish), on people's backs. Said to symbolize a young, easily caught fish and a gullible person, the April fish has caught on in today’s culture and is still celebrated throughout Europe.
Other websites, like history.com have offered other explanations such as the Spring equinox and a roman celebration known as Hilaria. Hilaria was a Roman celebration and, as the name implies, involves people dressing up in funny costumes for a day. Also it is possible that it represents the Spring Equinox and how crazy spring weather can be.