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Monday, April 1, 2013

April Fools Day

Sure, we all know today is April 1, the traditional All Fools Day, and while I'm not really one for pranks or jokes, I am one for behind the scenes. What's it mean? Where'd it come from? (I still want to know where the Easter Bunny fits into the Easter tradition.)

And I don't mind reading about a good prank or joke. I love Motley Fool for their cleverness. But what's behind it? And why has it survived so long? Because we as humans like to joke? OK, I can get behind that. Better than other alternatives!
So in my research I discovered that Wiki has the most comprehensive knowledge. I usually steer clear of Wiki but in this case thought it worth a mention. The sad, sad fact however is that the history of April Fools Day is boring. But for those interested, here you go:

Roman festival of Hilaria, held March 25:
A day of merriment and rejoicing in the Cybele-Attis cult and in the Isis-Osiris cult, March 25 and November 3, respectively. It was one of several days in the festival of Cybele that honoured Attis, her son and lover: March 15, his finding by Cybele among the reeds on the bank of the River Gallus; March 22, his self-mutilation; March 24, fasting and mourning at his death; and March 25, the Hilaria, rejoicing at his resurrection

Medieval Feast of Fools:
A celebration marked by much license and buffoonery, which in many parts of Europe, and particularly in France, during the later middle ages took place every year on or about the feast of the Circumcision (1 Jan.).

There's a bit about Chaucer and a possible typo, something about France and April fish (I have no idea), and New Year's being celebrated on March 25.

In some areas of France, New Year's was a week-long holiday ending on April 1.Many writers suggest that April Fools originated because those who celebrated on January 1 made fun of those who celebrated on other dates. A study in the 1950s, by folklorists Iona and Peter Opie, found that in the UK and those countries whose traditions derived from there, the joking ceased at midday.But this practice appears to have lapsed in more recent years.

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