April Fool’s day
Interesting day….there are so many theories about how and when this day got started. Who really knows and perhaps that is the best joke of all!
Some say that it has its roots in the resurrection, when Jesus got the last laugh over death. Others say that it is really about the French calendar reform, when the start of the year moved from the end of March to the beginning of January. Those who failed to keep up with the change, who stubbornly clung to the old calendar system and continued to celebrate the New Year during the week that fell between March 25th and April 1st, had jokes played on them. Pranksters would surreptitiously stick paper fish to their backs. The victims of this prank were thus called Poisson d’Avril, or April Fish — which, to this day, remains the French term for April Fools — and so the tradition was born.
Others cite references in literature and there are legends that include historical figures playing pranks but we really have no idea how this holiday got started. It was probably in Northern Europe or Britain. Sending gullible victims to the Tower of London to see the “washing of the lions” (a non-existent ceremony) was a popular prank. It became traditional for this prank to be played on April Fool’s Day. Almost every culture in the world has some kind of festival in the first months of the year to celebrate the end of winter and the return of spring. These “renewal festivals” often involve ritualized forms of mayhem and misrule. The wearing of disguises is common. People play pranks on friends and strangers. The social order is symbolically challenged, but then restored, reaffirming the stability of the culture, just as the cold months of winter temporarily challenge biological life, and yet the cycle of life continues, returning with the spring.
I am not one to advocate humor or pranks at the expense of someone else; I did enough hurtful things growing up that I thought were funny but others were hurt as a result. But I love a good laugh and the idea of turning things upside down, even for a moment, to poke fun at life. God is a God of joy and rather than seeing laughter as a gift we can often get sideways about it and miss the humor of Christ.
What are some of your best jokes and pranks? Happy day!