Journey to Easter: April Fools Day

2014-04-01T07:30:00Z 2014-04-18T11:59:27Z Journey to Easter: April Fools DayArizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
April 01, 2014 7:30 am  • 

A day of pranks, frivolity and silliness is plopped amid Lent — April Fools Day. While not a religious holiday — or any other kind for that matter — the origins of the day can be traced to a pope. No fooling.

Here's an excerpt from The Salt Lake Tribune explaining the origins of the faux holiday: 

"The day began, most believe, in 1582, when Pope Gregory XIII decreed the adoption of the 'Gregorian calendar' — named after himself — which moved New Year’s Day from the end of March to Jan. 1.

"The change was published widely, explains Ginger Smoak, an expert in medieval history at the University of Utah, but those who didn’t get the message and continued to celebrate on April 1 'were ridiculed and, because they were seen as foolish, called April Fools.'

"Even though the annual panoply of pranks meant to mock the gullible or to send a friend on a 'fool’s errand' may not be grounded in any ancient religious merrymaking, the notion of "holy fools" does have a long and respected place in Judeo-Christian history.

"Hebrew prophets were often scorned as mad or eccentric for pronouncing unwelcome or uncomfortable truths. The Apostle Paul talked to the Corinthians about becoming 'fools for Christ.' And Eastern Orthodoxy still sees the 'holy fool' as a type of Christian martyr."

Easter and April Fools Day coincide in four years: Easter falls on April 1 in 2018.

Source: "April 1 is a religious holiday — gotcha, April Fools" by Peggy Fletcher Stack, The Salt Lake Tribune 

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