Why do we celebrate April Fool’s?

Why do we celebrate April Fool’s?

Alisha Bhatia, Staff Writer

Many of us have celebrated April Fools for years now, innocently exchanging Oreo filling for toothpaste as kids and excitedly taping a harmonica under a friend’s car bumper now. Waiting for the scrunched eyebrows and disgusted face when they taste the minty paste or seeing their horrified face when they think their engine is wheezing is worth the preparation. But why do we pull these pranks on the 1st of April? What’s so special about this day, and what are we celebrating?

Most people believe that this tradition originated in France. When they switched from the Julian calendar to the Gregorian one (the calendar we use now), New Year’s Day was adjusted from April 1st to January 1st. The French had a tradition of partying the week leading up to New Year’s, and people who didn’t get the memo that the holiday was moved back by 8 months were teased. Because they forgot, they were called fools, hence the term April Fool’s.

In a style reminiscent of Ding Dong Ditching, the French would stick a paper fish on the back of people and run away before screaming “Poisson d’avril!” which means “April Fish” to “symbolize a young, easily caught fish and a gullible person” This was also done to people who knew of the change in dates but refused to accept it. People went even further and began pulling pranks on them, and even made postcards of people as fish or people with paper fish taped to their back.

Whether you are pulling an elaborate prank this year or choosing one of simplicity, keep the French and their fish in mind today. Or, take a look through the following interesting April Fool’s pranks throughout the last 80 years:

1957: Farmers harvest spaghetti noodles (BBC): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tVo_wkxH9dU

1983: Convertible magically deflects rain:


1996: Taco Bell buys the Liberty Bell: https://www.phillyvoice.com/two-decades-ago-taco-bell-convinced-america-it-had-bought-liberty-bell/

2021: Duolingo toilet paper: https://www.duolingo.com/roll