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The Truth Behind April Fools' Day

Jul 19, 2008
April fools' Day truly is one of the most humerous days of the year. This year to play a little joke of your own, try sending someone a humerous free e-card that contains a little joke or prank of your own. E cards truly are one of the easiest ways at getting back at the people that caught you out last year.

In many ancient societies of the Northern Hemisphere, the start of the New Year was commemorated on or around the Vernal Equinox, the day on which the Sun's plane intersects with the Equator, making the length of night and day absolutely equal on all parts of the Earth.

The Vernal Equinox normally falls on March 21st or 22nd. Some cultures held festivities in February, some as late as May, but the extended timing of the festivities perfectly captured all the renewal and excitement of spring, and the revitalization of energy associated with the coming of a new year.

In France, the annual New Year celebration took place in late March, with the festivities lasting until the 1st of April. When the adoption of the Gregorian calendar swept the Christian world starting in 1562, and was perhaps too ceremoniously endorsed by France's King Charles IX, many people who either preferred the springtime celebration to its replacement or were ignorant of the calendar change, continued to observe the traditional, seasonal new year.

These reactionaries were made the fools of juvenile pranks played by their more obliging compatriots; hence the name April Fools' Day.

In France, the name for April Fools' Day is Poisson d'Avril, which means April fish, because once the customary joke is delivered or the prank has been uncovered, the tricked is called "poisson d'avril." April Fools' Day falls during the zodiacal sign Pisces, the symbol of which is fish.

Hence, the French term for the befooled. In England and Scotland, the victims of practical jokes were similarly known as "April gowks," a term of ridicule for the cuckoo, a bird commonly found in both temperate and tropical climate zones.

The intention of an ordinary April Fools' joke is to convince someone that something false is true.

Thus playful practical jokes such as distributing invitations to fake parties, sending people on fool's errands, setting clocks behind or ahead of time, sabotaging the toilet seat with food, and endless others are not only commonplace, but can be a great way of sharing some laughs.

While playing pranks within the context of April Fools' Day is appropriate, they should be ultimately harmless in nature. There is a big difference between playing a joke on a friend and being malicious. So assuming your prankster plans are friendly, have tons of fun on April Fools' Day!

American writer Mark Twain on April Fools' Day: "The first of April is the day we remember what we are the other 364 days of the year."

So to either ruin or make someone's April Fools' Day this year, try sending them a free e-card and give yourself something to laugh at, until next year.
About the Author
Andrew Gibson is MD of Greeting-Cards.com. It has thousands of free ecards to choose from for birthdays and all occasions. Many people now send Free e-cards to celebrate April Fools' Day and select them from http://www.Greeting-Cards.com
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