The History of April Fools Day

The popular belief is that April Fools Day goes back to 1582 when France switched to the Gregorian calendar (they used the Julian calendar before that). This switch made the new year fall on January 1 when before the new year had started on April 1. Those who didn’t get the message and continued to celebrate the new year on April 1 were the butt of jokes and considered “April fools.”

Some historians also think that April Fools Day is linked to ancient Roman festivals at the end of March or the vernal equinox (first day of spring) when the nature was playing tricks with the changing and unpredictable weather.

April Fools Day began to become popular in Britain in the 18th century and in Scotland it became an event spanning two days full of tomfoolery and trickery, often involving sending people on fake errands. Some pranks were not so different from today and involved pinning “kick me” signs on people’s backs or fake tails.

Today, people go to great lengths to play pranks. This year Disney on Broadway announced that “The Lion King” on Broadway would be playing in Antarctica.



Whatever the origins of April Fools Day, these days it’s an excuse to play pranks on your friends!