Happy April Fools’ Day!

This festival of foolishness has an obscure origin. Since the new year used to be counted from the end of March, some scholars think that the day came when the Gregorian calendar was adopted in 1582, which changed New Year’s Day to January 1. Some people, though, were too ignorant to know about the switch, so they celebrated New Year’s on the wrong day, April 1, to the ridicule of those in the know who made fun of the April Fools. That’s a good story, but the day seems to have been celebrated before that! See this for background.

Still, in our project to rehabilitate old holidays and put meaning back into them, how do you think we should pour content into April Fool’s Day? How should we celebrate it? Not by pranks, tricks, or silly lies, such as you will see everywhere today on the internet and on other blogs (let the reader beware). We here at Cranach will not prank you. Really. I mean, that post about the mile-high skyscraper might SEEM to be an April Fool’s joke, but, as far as I know, it isn’t!

Nor is the post about Al Gore an April Fool’s joke, though it would make a good one. (Our problem today is that REALITY is often so close to jokery, that it’s difficult to tell them apart!)

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • John

    Perhaps we should meditate on the book of Proverbs and its admonitions against acting foolishly.

  • John

    Perhaps we should meditate on the book of Proverbs and its admonitions against acting foolishly.

  • http://www.brandywinebooks.net Lars Walker

    One might practice being a fool for Christ. Some of us have little choice in the matter.

  • http://www.brandywinebooks.net Lars Walker

    One might practice being a fool for Christ. Some of us have little choice in the matter.

  • http://www.cockahoop.com/ tODD

    What post on Al Gore?

  • http://www.cockahoop.com/ tODD

    What post on Al Gore?

  • http://www.geneveith.com Veith

    I forgot to post it! I did now. I think I AM an April fool today.

  • http://www.geneveith.com Veith

    I forgot to post it! I did now. I think I AM an April fool today.

  • http://www.geneveith.com Veith

    Over “The Truth Shall Make You Free” (at http://free-in-truth.blogspot.com/2008/04/april-1-happy-atheists-day.html), we have the suggestion, drawing on Psalm 14, that we consider today “Happy Atheist Day”!

  • http://www.geneveith.com Veith

    Over “The Truth Shall Make You Free” (at http://free-in-truth.blogspot.com/2008/04/april-1-happy-atheists-day.html), we have the suggestion, drawing on Psalm 14, that we consider today “Happy Atheist Day”!

  • JLarson

    Ah, yes. The Atheist’s Holiday.

    Speaking of jokery being too close to reality sometimes, I read yesterday of the tragedy on April 1, 1946, concerning the Aleutian Island earthquake that killed 165 people on Hawaii and Alaska because they assumed that the warnings were April Fool’s pranks. Sad.

  • JLarson

    Ah, yes. The Atheist’s Holiday.

    Speaking of jokery being too close to reality sometimes, I read yesterday of the tragedy on April 1, 1946, concerning the Aleutian Island earthquake that killed 165 people on Hawaii and Alaska because they assumed that the warnings were April Fool’s pranks. Sad.

  • JLarson

    See http://www.infoplease.com/spot/aprilfools1.html for possible problems with the calendar explanation for the origin of April Fool’s Day. According to the site, “the Gregorian calendar was not adopted by England until 1752 . . . but April Fool’s Day was already established there by that point.”

  • JLarson

    See http://www.infoplease.com/spot/aprilfools1.html for possible problems with the calendar explanation for the origin of April Fool’s Day. According to the site, “the Gregorian calendar was not adopted by England until 1752 . . . but April Fool’s Day was already established there by that point.”

  • S Bauer

    Don’t forget about us who were born on this day. Explains a lot, doesn’t it?

  • S Bauer

    Don’t forget about us who were born on this day. Explains a lot, doesn’t it?

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/17639370291865261582 Cindy

    Happy birthday, S Bauer! Judging by the comments you post here, you are no fool.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/17639370291865261582 Cindy

    Happy birthday, S Bauer! Judging by the comments you post here, you are no fool.

  • http://www.oldsolar.com/currentblog.php Rick Ritchie

    I found some good hoaxes listed at Wikipedia.

    One involved the claim that the Leaning Tower of Pisa had fallen. Another was the claim by the BBC that it was broadcasting in Smell-o-vision. Some viewers reportedly contacted the BBC to report that it was successful.

  • http://www.oldsolar.com/currentblog.php Rick Ritchie

    I found some good hoaxes listed at Wikipedia.

    One involved the claim that the Leaning Tower of Pisa had fallen. Another was the claim by the BBC that it was broadcasting in Smell-o-vision. Some viewers reportedly contacted the BBC to report that it was successful.