In Honor of
April Fools' Day
If only I had the courage to do this!
A PLAUSIBLE EXPLANATION OF THE ORIGINS OF APRIL FOOL'S DAY was provided by Joseph Boskin, a professor of history at Boston University. He explained that the practice began during the reign of Constantine, when a group of court jesters and fools told the Roman emperor that they could do a better job of running the empire. Constantine, amused, allowed a jester named Kugel to be king for one day. Kugel passed an edict calling for absurdity on that day, and the custom became an annual event.
"In a way," explained Prof. Boskin, "it was a very serious day. In those times fools were really wise men. It was the role of jesters to put things in perspective with humor."
This explanation was brought to the public's attention in an Associated Press article printed by many newspapers in 1983. There was only one catch: Boskin made the whole thing up. It took a couple of weeks for the AP to realize that they'd been victims of an April Fools' joke themselves.
When trying to determine the beginning of April Fools’ Day, it is worth noting that different cultures have had days of foolishness around the start of April, give or take a couple of weeks. The Romans had a festival named Hilaria, a day of merriment and rejoicing to celebrate the resurrection of Attis. The Hindu calendar has Holi, also known as festival of colors, where everyone plays, chases and colors each other with dry powder and colored water. The Jewish calendar has Purim, commemorating the salvation of the Jewish people in ancient Persia from Haman’s plot “to destroy, kill, and annihilate all the Jews, young and old, infants and women, in a single day.” Perhaps there's something about the time of year, with its turn from winter to spring, that lends itself to lighthearted celebrations.
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GROWING UP IN THE 40S & 50S
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ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW BUT ARE
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ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW BUT ARE TOO SHY TO ASK
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