- Jul 17, 2017
Although April Fools’ Day has been observed for centuries in several countries, the origin of the custom is unknown. While it resembles other festivals — such as the Hilaria of ancient Rome (March 25) and the Holi festival of India (ending March 31) —, the first reference to April Fool’s Day comes from Geoffrey Chaucer’s “Canterbury Tales“. The Nun’s Priest’s Tale is set on a date “syn March was gon”. In other words, “since March was gone,” or — most readers surmised — April 1. The tale is about the fox, a character that tricks the vain cock Chanticleer. It’s usually regarded as the first April Fool’s prank.
April Fools Day’s timing seems related to the vernal equinox (March 21), when nature ‘fools’ mankind with sudden changes in the weather. Some people have tried to justify that April Fools’ Day can be considered a fairly innocuous holiday that Christians can partake in.
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