April Fool’s Day 2014: Origin and History Dates Back to Bible and Roman Days; Top 5 Interesting Facts

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By Gopi Chandra Kharel | April 1, 2014 5:40 AM EST

April Fool's Day is one of the most interesting days of the year for the simple fact that it is the only day when we are allowed to make people 'fools' with practical jokes played upon then. It is the only day when no one can complain if you cheat on them or tell them a lie. (Read: 15 Quotes, 5 Prank Messages for April Fool's Day)

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April Fool's Day 2014 (Photo: You Tube Screen shot)

On April Fool's Day, people around the world usually play pranks on others. One of the most clichéd yet popular trick involves telling one's friend his shoelaces are undone and when he looks down to glance at his shoes, the prankster declares the victim "April Fool"!

The media have also often taken advantage of the day to write something hilarious and outrageous just to fool millions of its readers. So this is the day when you cannot trust even the media, let alone any one of your cheeky friends or family members.

There is something really interesting about the day that one cannot help, but wonder how this day ever came into existence. How did this day start and what is its history?

The following are the top 5 interesting facts about April Fool's Day that theorizes on its possible history and origins:

1. Biblical Theory: The origin of April Fool's Day dates back to Bible days when the history of this day was first recorded. First theory pointing out to the origin of the day stems from the day in which Noah - one of the tenth and last of the pre-flood Patriarchs, the story of whom has been told in the Hebrew Bible in the Genesis Flood narrative and also in Sura 71 of Quran - sent a dove on 1 April to find dry land before waters subsided.  

Another theory points to the fact that on 1 April, Jesus was sent from Pontius Pilate to Herod and back again. This journey was often considered to be an old expression of sending someone on a fool's errand, thereby signifying that this could have been the origin of the essence of the April Fool's Day.

2. Roman Origins: Pranks and mischief played upon people on 1 April also dates back to ancient Roman times. Romans and Celts are said to have celebrated a festival of practical jokes sometime around the time of March equinox which falls close to the day.

An ancient Roman myth also tells the story of the God Pluto who abducted Proserpina, the Goddess of grain and harvest. Proserpina's mother could only hear the voice of her daughter when she searched for her in the vast expense of the underworld. This fruitless search ended in vain and inspired the idea of a fool's errand - giving birth to April Fool's Day.

3. Change from Julian to Gregorian Calendar: Another theory attributes the origin of April Fool's Day to the change from Julian to Gregorian calendar. According to folklores, several part of Europe celebrated New Year on 2 April when friends and family members often exchanged gifts under the Julian calendar. When the Julian calendar was suddenly changed to Gregorian calendar - which is an internationally accepted calendar even today, it caused confusion and troubles to people. When the new colander - named after Pope Gregory XIII - was introduced in 1582, changing the New Year's Day to 1 January, some people who had forgotten about the change, continued celebrating New Year on 2 April.

Friends and family member used to mock and make fun of those who used to visit them on previous day - 1 April. Hence, the forgetful ones became victims of various pranks and jokes.

4. British Folklore: As per another folklore from British culture, the 13th century King used to declare every road he walked as public property. Once on 1 April, he was planning to travel a particular part of a town in Gotham in Nottinghamshire. Upon hearing the king's plans, people of the town refused him to enter their territory. The king then sent armies to the town who were perplexed to find all people engaging in stupid activities such as drowning fish. The king upon hearing about the stupid activities declared the town too foolish to warrant punishment - thus giving rise to the idea that 1 April was a fool's day.

5. Stop at 12 Noon: April Fool's Day is characterized with a renewal festival celebrated by most cultures around the world such as the end of winter and the beginning of spring.

The day, considered as one of the most interesting days of the year, often include wearing disguises and playing stupid pranks on family and friends. It is a time when normal behavior is not allowed, while mischievous and tomfoolery behavior is absolutely acceptable.

But did you know that according to tradition, the time for pranks and jokes must stop at 12 noon on 1 April?

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April Fool's Day 2014 (Photo: You Tube Screen shot)
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