Did 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!