Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Happy April First

Wouldn't you know I'd get April first to blog? And of course, being a historical romance writer, you should also know that I had to find out where it came from and when.

Not only that, I wanted to find out what kind of jokes people play on April Fool's Day.

I can tell you now, after much research (which of course I love), there is no reliable info on where the day came from, or even how it started.

There are a few guesses. The first thing I found was that the day might have started when Pope Gregory changed the Roman calendar so that January one would be the beginning of the year, not April first. But that really doesn't make much sense because communications were not what they are today so few people knew about the calendar change and of course, England didn't change their calendar until the mid 1700's. Besides, people were all ready involved in pranks long before those changes.

April first may be tied to the beginning of spring, a kind of let your hair down and have some fun. And of course through the years, that's what's happened.

In England, in the 1970' a renowned astronomer announced that at a certain time several planets would line up perfectly so that if you jumped up at that exact moment you would be weightless at that time. A few minutes after the specified time, the BBC switchboard lite up with all kinds of people proclaiming it worked. Alas - complete prank.

Of course, there's the infamous New York Times ad, saying Taco fought the liberty bell and would call it the Taco liberty bell - again a hoax.

Watch out for the internet cleaning hoax - It goes something like this. On March 31st, at midnight,  you must turn off your computer and keep it off for a full twenty-four hours for the world wide web is going to undergo a complete spring cleaning.

Then why is April first a day for pranks and foolishness? Maybe because we are sick of winter, ready for spring and need to release some of the energy and hemmed in feeling lots of people get often, called 'the winter blues'. I know I'm ready for spring! I know a lot of people who share my feelings.

So enjoy the day, and don't let anyone make you the butt of an April fools' joke. Now, I'm not saying you can't be the jokester.

Huuuuummmmm....      Wonder what kind of mischief I can get into?

Allison Knight


Big Mike said...

You could always share those jokes you send me, right (g).

Michael Davis (Davisstories.com)
Author of the Year (2008 and 2009)
Award of Excellence (2012)

Liz Fountain said...

So many of our traditions come from Britain or Europe, but this one (April Fool's) happens to have its roots in China. Scholars tell us that prior to Marco Polo, when Europeans came to Asia hoping to plunder its great wealth, they'd be welcomed to the Chinese court, fed plate after plate of gorgeous, delicious food, and given the finest rooms to sleep in. Slowly but surely, these would-be plunderers grew soft and did not want to leave, and became "pets" of the Emperor. Weather conditions meant they'd usually arrive around early spring, and became known as "April's fools."
Or something like that. ;-)

Julie Eberhart Painter said...

Liz, I believe it. The Chinese are wise and patient. Years of practice.