1st April, popularly known as April Fools’ Day, is the 91st day of the year (92nd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. It is regarded as one of the most light-hearted days of the year, a day the world is officially permitted to “Lie” in guise of a prank. The real origin of April Fool’s Day is uncertain; some people see it as a celebration related to the turn of the seasons, while others believe it resulted from the adoption of a new calendar. However, there are 274 days to the end of the year after the World Fool’s Day.
Ancient cultures used to celebrate New Year’s Day on or around April 1. Then in 1582, Pope Gregory XIII ordered the Gregorian Calendar to replace the old Julian Calendar. The new calendar announced New Year’s Day to be celebrated on Jan. 1. However, not every one accepted this new date, while some didn’t even hear about the new development. So some countries continued to celebrate New Year’s Day on April 1.
People started making fun of these people from these countries, sending them on “fool’s errands” or trying to trick them into believing something else/false. Eventually, the practice spread throughout Europe and grew to what we know today as April Fool’s Day.
However, the above explanation does not have a direct historical evidence and so people brought up so many other histories of how 1st April became Fool’s day. Another explanation of the origins of April Fools’ Day was provided by Joseph Boskin, a professor of history at Boston University. He explained that the practice began during the reign of Constantine, when a group of court jesters and fools told the Roman emperor that they could do a better job of running the empire.
Constantine, amused, allowed a jester named Kugel to be king for one day. Kugel passed an edict calling for absurdity on that day, and the custom became an annual event. In a way it was a very serious day and it took some weeks for people to realize that the kingship of Kugel was a joke set up by the real king, as fools were really wise men in those days.
Currently, April Fools’ Day is observed not just in the Western world where it originated from, but in Africa and other continent who loved and adapted the practice. Although 1st April is yet to be declared a public holiday, it should be. People usually mark the celebration by sending someone on a “fool’s errand,” looking for things that don’t exist; playing pranks; and trying to get people to believe ridiculous things.
In history 1st April has held a lot of memorable events. They include the following:
1867 – Singapore became a British crown colony.
1887 – Mumbai Fire Brigade was established.
1893 – The rank of Chief Petty Officer in the United States Navy was established.
1924 – Adolf Hitler was sentenced to five years in jail for his participation in the “Beer Hall Putsch”.
1924 – The Royal Canadian Air Force was formed.
2001 – Same-sex marriage became legal in the Netherlands, the first contemporary country to allow it.
2004 – Google announced Gmail to the public.
1st April also marks the birthday of Nigerian-British actor and producer, David Oyelowo who was born in 1976. Some other notable Celebrities who were born on 1st April include:
1976 – Nicole Sanderson, Australian beach volleyball player
1980 – Randy Orton, American wrestler
1980 – Bijou Phillips, American actress
1981 – Aslı Bayram, German model and actress, Miss Germany 2005
1983 – John Axford, Canadian baseball player
1985 – Josh Zuckerman, American actor
1986 – Kid Ink, American rapper
1988 – Brook Lopez, American basketball player
1988 – Robin Lopez, American basketball player
1994 – Ella Eyre, English singer-songwriter
1997 – Asa Butterfield, English actor
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