April Fool's Day

1 Apr, 2004 | HistoryTdp

Just what is April Fool's Day (and before you say it, I know it's the 1st day of April, dummy)? But what the hell is it all about? I only just started thinking about it, after reading about some fellow bloggers swapping site designs, the standards boys going a bit loopy and linking standards to erectile dysfunction and so on. I've even heard that Google's report about Gmail is a joke, but no one seems sure...

How did this all start, did someone, somewhere get up and decide that the world needed to laugh at itself a bit more, encourage more people and companies to do something nuts, but only for the first half of the first day or April (it hits you back after 12)? I honestly don't know.

Maybe April Fool's Day is one big joke? Maybe, every year, someone out there is rolling about laughing that we've all fallen for it yet again.

Hmm, I think I'll look into it and get back to you.

Update: The Times appears to have done a brief history of April Fool's Day. I also found another description of the history of April Fool's Day.

Essentially, no one knows where it started, only that it exists, practically globally. One school of thought is that it is a leftover from a much earlier age (Roman possibly) or that it occured due to the shift in days when the Gregorian Calendar replaced the Julian Calendar as the norm and people continued to celebrate the Julian New Year which was on 25th March, but was accompanied by a week-long celebration which ended on 1st April. Some people continued to celebrate the previous New Year date and were considered fools. This slowly spread and the Europeans introduced it to all their colonies.

I also found the A History of Fools and the Top 100 April Fool's Day Hoaxes both of which show some of the classic pranks played over the years.