April Fool’s Day falls on April 1st. In the following article we look at:
On April Fool’s Day there’s a custom of tricking unwary people. Newspapers may run joke news items and in 1957 the BBC news programme, Panorama carried such a convincing story about spaghetti trees that many viewers phoned in to find out where they could buy their own pasta plant!
Closer to home, we all need to watch out for the prankster who thinks it’s clever to put cling-film over the toilet or pretend there’s been an emergency phone call for you to chase after. If you’re caught out, you’ll hear the cry ‘Ah, April Fool!’ But April Fool jokes are only allowed up to midday – after that it’s the trickster who is the fool.
April Fool’s Day has been with us since at least the time of Geoffrey Chaucer, in the Fourteenth Century. He wrote in the Canterbury Tales about the vain cock Chaunticleer being tricked by a fox.
In the Middle Ages many European towns used to celebrate New Year on March 25th, and the celebrations would continue for a week, until April 1st. Some historians have suggested that those who marked New Year on January 1st mocked those who celebrated it later, and so the term April Fool began.
In Scotland and Ireland a favourite prank was to send the ‘fool’ on what was literally a ‘fool’s errand’. He would be asked to take a message to one person, and when the addressee opened it he would find the instruction to tell the ‘fool’ that more information was needed. So he would send him off again to a third party, who would send him to another, and another. When the penny finally dropped and the ‘fool’ opened the message, all it said was ‘send the fool further.’ Not very kind!
In Poland serious tasks may be avoided on April 1st, so strong is the tradition of fooling. Public institutions and the media even cooperate to make the ruses more credible. Similarly, in Nordic countries, newspapers usually run a convincing first page story, that is a complete hoax.
In Italy and French speaking European countries, as well as Canada, there is a tradition of poissons d‘Avril where paper fish are attached to the backs of unwary victims. April Fool’s Day is even celebrated in India, and has been featured in a Bollywood movie.
Opinions vary regarding April Fool’s Day. Some people feel it is time-wasting, unkind and even dangerous to dupe people. Others feel that not taking things too seriously and having a good laugh is therapeutic.
Like so many things in life, much depends upon the way it is done, and also the choice of victim. Some people are laid back and thick skinned, able to shrug off being a ‘fool’. The laughter may be with the person, not at them. As for public hoaxes, they can be amusing and inventive – and after all, the underlying message is not to believe everything you see and hear, especially in the media.
As with so many popular customs, deeper meanings may underlie April Fool’s Day. Like Trick or Treat at Halloween or the Lord of Misrule on Twelfth Night a little bit of chaos and things not being what they seem can remind us that life itself is ‘tricky’.
Human beings have hidden depths, existence is unpredictable and all the rules and regulations we surround ourselves with are just an illusion of control. This may be especially marked at seasonal transition times, such as New Year – and of course there are some historians who say Halloween was the old Celtic New Year.
The Tarot also has a message for us. The Fool in the Major Arcana is about innocence, new beginnings and the ability to go with the flow, to cast your fate to the winds and to transform. In the courts of Medieval kings the Fool was an honoured and essential person. He enabled the King to relax, to have a laugh and to detach for a moment from the weight of responsibility of rulership. In doing this he made the King more creative, more able to channel his intuition and so better as a monarch.
Because of this April Fool’s Day has deeper meanings, telling you to stop taking things so seriously. Go with the flow, smile, look for things to laugh at and enjoy yourself. As long as you are kind, and safe, what can go wrong?
In this article we have looked at the history and customs of April Fool’s Day, and also at deeper meanings. Every so often we need a chance to let our hair down, so why not make the morning of April 1st a time when you refuse to sweat the small stuff, live each moment as if it were your last and have a good giggle. Not a bad way to kick off into Spring!
If you feel you’ve been made a fool of by someone you care about or your lack of confidence is holding you back, as you don’t want to feel foolish in pursuing a relationship. Contact one of our skilled relationship Readers here at TheCircle https://www.thecircle.com/uk/find-reader/
PUBLISHED: 31 March 2016