April Fool’s Day also called as All Fools Day, is considered to one of the light-hearted days of the year. Though the origin of this day is uncertain. But the most popular explanation is the change of calendar from the Julian to the Gregorian.
Ancient cultures which include Romans, Hindus celebrated New Year’s Day on or around 1st April. In medieval period most of the Europe celebrated 25th March, the Feast of Annunciation, as the beginning of the new year.
In 1582, Pope Gregory XIII ordered the new calendar (Gregorian Calendar) to start from January 1, and according to this calendar New Year’s Day to be celebrated on 1st January instead of the hitherto celebration of new year in the end of March. This change in the annual calendar was first brought into practice by France.
However, a large number of people all across Europe continued with the Julian calendar. As a result, those who adopted the new calendar started referring to the ones who refused to change as ‘fools’, thereby marking the beginning of a tradition that we would go on to observe in the coming centuries.
April Fool’s Day is known to have started in Europe but it’s being observed throughout the Western world too. The practices include playing pranks and trying to get people to believe ridiculous things.
Another explanation for the origin of this tradition is springtime custom of light-hearted merriment that is believed and has been observed for centuries across several parts of the world. For example, an ancient Roman a festival called ‘Hilaria’ was celebrated on the last week of March, as the day on which God Attis was resurrected. Similarly, in India Holi is celebrated during the same time of the year as an occasion.