Happy New Year’s…On April Fools

new-years-day copyDid you know that April 1st used to be the start of the new year?  I didn’t until I stumbled on this today. My husband says I never met an odd bit of data or history or folklore that I could resist…and he’s right…and I had to share it with you! So…….

Until 1582, when Pope Gregory (lucky number XIII of that name) changed it to January 1st, March 20 or 21 (the Vernal Equinox or first day of spring) or April 1st the first day of the month after the Equinox were considered the start of the New Year. Makes sense: spring equals new beginnings.

So, how did that morph into April Fool’s Day with pranks and jokes?

I love this: There were some in the Middle Ages who did not learn of the change, others who did not want to obey the Pope, and a few Traditionalists who rejected change. The new hip medieval with-its thought these groups were backward, naive, and ignorant. So, anyone who continued to celebrate an April New Year became the butt of jokes, subjected to pranks designed to take them in and make them “look the fool.”  There’s no fool like an “old” (New Year’s) fool.   Obviously, over the years, fewer and fewer of those celebrations continued, but the pranks remained!

A little trivia for you, perfect for the day. Just go up to the next person you see and say Happy New Year! And when they say, “It’s not New Years.” You answer is “April Fools!”

….oh, and yes, I do always beat my family at Trivial Pursuit!




About joanneeddy

Writer living in North Carolina. Originally from upstate New York. I love my family, my community, and my friends, and embrace 'living deliberately' in the world, trying to make a difference. I have written an as yet unpublished book, The Call, an epic fantasy with historical fiction and folklore elements. My blog is for other writers, for those who love a good read, and for all who, like me, are looking to find and live their call.
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11 Responses to Happy New Year’s…On April Fools

  1. Bernadette says:

    This is great. Tell your husband you are not the only person who likes these random bits of knowledge. I always used to love reading Ripley’s Believe It Or Not and also the little random lines that used to be printed in the newspapers. My husband says my head is full of useless information and he is probably right but it fun.

    Liked by 1 person

    • joanneeddy says:

      He just loves to tease me about it… But glad I’m not the only one. I loved Ripley’s Believe it Or Not! Maybe that’s why random bits and pieces of odd things appeal to me. Never made the connection before!


  2. Love it! My sister claims that my head if full of “trivia sh*t,” too! One more nugget to add to my arsenal! I am best in Science and Nature, and I suck in Entertainment – just sayin’! Have a great weekend!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. spearfruit says:

    Wonderful to know – I learned something new today! Thank you, have a lovely day! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. It makes complete sense that the new year would start on the vernal equinox or around there. I wonder why it was changed in the first place. But how interesting that the old new year became a fools’ day. Thanks for the lesson, Joanne. I love this stuff. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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