April Fools' Day 2016: How Did This Tradition Start? Crazy Facts About Day Of Pranking

By Rachel Cruz, Parent Herald April 01, 02:39 am
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It's April Fools' Day and pranksters are on the loose! You'd have to watch your back so that you don't become a victim of a joke or hoax. But how did this yearly tradition start and what other crazy ideas have people come up with to prank others? We examine the facts.

It's not clear when and why April Fools' Day started. Some have traced its origins to the 16th century to coincide with the Greco-Roman festival that takes place after the vernal equinox in the Julian calendar. The vernal equinox was regarded as the New Year at that time and in the celebration, revelers would dress up and play jokes on one another in honor of the Greek god Cybele, per Time.

However, the Julian calendar was scrapped in favor of the Gregorian calendar, which begins the year every January. Historians believe that for a time, some folks continued following the Julian calendar and celebrated the start of the year in April. Thus, they were regarded as fools, per Express.

Others link April Fools to spring, which is a time for harvest and renewals. In many cultures around the world, this celebration calls for mayhem or disguises, where practical jokes commonly exist, per the Museum of Hoaxes.

It was the British who popularized April Fools' Day in the 1700s and neighboring Scotland adapted this as a two-day event, per History. Hunt the Gowk takes place on the first day, which involves playing tricks and sending people on mindless errands. Tailie Day follows on April 2, where pranksters attach paper tails to the butts of their "victims," per the Scottish Society of Southwest Michigan.

April Fools Day traditions have lived on for centuries and in the social media age, pranks can even go viral. Word of advise: don't be too gullible on April 1. Be on guard and don't immediately believe what you read or see on the internet on this day.

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