With the exception of spitting for distance, nothing’s more fun than a good April Fools joke. Some people give gag gifts on this day. Not me…that’s what I do for birthdays.
But whatever you buy on this holiday, remember it’s much better to give than receive…especially a depilatory, which I found personally quite painful for nose hair.
Sometimes, I actually present real gifts, like games or coloring books. Just about anyone can spend hours with crayons if they’ve got pictures or body parts to color.
Did you know April Fools’ Day started as a calendar correction? Yep, back in 1564 — when I was in middle school — the French king said the Gregorian calendar should replace the one Julius Caesar developed in 46 B.C.
Caesar‘s calendar, you see, was over 11 minutes longer than the solar year. So, by 1580 the pages were hopelessly outdated. Also, the calendar pictures were pretty bad, because they were drawn with a chisel.
To make the new calendar start right, experts made several corrections, even removing ten days from October. This was OK, because there was no World Series or Halloween yet.
But even though New Year’s Day moved to January 1, a few revelers still celebrated on April 1 by gift-giving and silly tricks. These revelers got named “April Fools.”
Will we ever go back to an April 1 New Year? Probably not. It would make the school year’s winter break way, way too long.
Rix Quinn is a former magazine publisher who works as an independent biographer and broadcaster.