The history of April Fool’s Day, or “All Fool’s Day,” is uncertain. But, I’m sure the ancient Romans had something to do with it, which means the Roman Catholic Church ultimately had a hand in its development. The current theory holds that the entire fiasco began in France around 1582 with the introduction of the Gregorian Calendar under King Charles IX. Pope Gregory XIII had created his own personal calendar to replace the common Julian Calendar, which was no less dysfunctional. Like I said, you can blame the Romans and the Catholic Church for this mess. The abrupt shift in all the dates meant that New Year’s would now take place around January 1, instead of somewhere between March and April, as it had been.
Communication traveled slowly in those days, thus some people didn’t learn about the new calendar for a few years after its adoption. That created its own gallery of problems, not the least of which meant some folks had been cheated out of their birthdays. In a state of rebellion, or denial, a number of holdouts continued to celebrate New Year’s on April 1. The general population and the Catholic hierarchy labeled them fools – and if you’ve ever attended a Catholic mass, you’ll see the irony in that accusation! But, those who’d accepted the new calendar often would play practical jokes on the stalwarts – sending them invitations to non-existent parties; dispatching them on false errands; telling them all Jews were converting to Christianity.
The harassment evolved into a custom of prank-playing on April 1. The tradition eventually spread to the British Isles who then brought it with them to the Americas. It’s another reason why Indians kick themselves for not having a cohesive immigration plan in place 500 years ago. That’s no joke, of course. Regardless, have as much clean fun with it as you can – and don’t do anything Chief Writing Wolf wouldn’t do, when you get too damn bored.