April 1, 2008

April's Fool?


No real facts on this day's history exist. Even Snopes.com mentions it (more than mentions it, it's rather long). I actually just wanted to post this picture I found.

There is a story of a day when a king would change places with a fool for the day. And I like this so-often-true thought:

"Fools were really wise men.
It was the role of Jesters
to put things in perspective
with humor."

The changing to the Gregorian calendar in the late 1500s is what you find the most out there in legend-land - which changed New Year, end of March, to January 1. But it doesn't really work as an explanation since the UK celebrated April Fools long before they adopted the Gregorian calendar in the 1700s.

I'll share a story from one of my British children's calendar book called All Year Round. It's of a baby Olaf sleeping in a cradle slung from the branch of a tree, while his mother mended fishing nets nearby. A large wave came upon the beach and took the baby leaving a fish in the cradle. She shrieked to her husband that the baby was gone. While her back was turned, a second wave miraculously returned her baby to the cradle and retrieved the fish. The husband came, looked, saw the baby, and berated his wife as a fool.

There has to be some fish connection, because in many countries they make fish shaped confections for this day and people slyly tape paper fish on people's backs. Maybe it has something to do with the zodiac sign of the fish around this time of year.

Some people hang a little cradle carrying a fish (like a half walnut shell with a cracker or carboard
fish glued inside) around their neck or at their front door, as protection. Most practical jokers respect this code. But I don't think any of this exists in the USA.

Another thing I've read is that April's weather can be so fickle that it'll fool you into planting too early!

Fool phrases -
April Fool; Fool's Cap; Act the Fool; Fool's Errand; Fool's Gold; Fool's Paradise; Fool's Parsley; Playing the Fool; Tomfoolery; Trompe-l'oeil (A still-life painting, designed to give an illusion of reality. Literally 'deceives the eye'); Foolery; Foolhardy.

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