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All Fools Day

April Fool

Dwelling in a fool’s paradise has been my cup of tea on every April 1st, ie All Fool’s Day. Right from the 8th grade to the 10th grade at school, the endless pranks played on me by my fellow classmates led to disgrace with my teachers and peers. Being the butt of their jokes had been a routine custom rather than by chance and I have found that keeping my sanity intact on April 1st had become a compelling necessity and so difficult too.

In the 8th grade , on April 1st, I innocently entered the school cafeteria and I was offered “cheese balls” . I grabbed a few to satiate my hunger and to my horror I found that they were chewy balls of cotton fried in chick pea batter! “April Fool!” was my buddy’s reply.

The following year I was a little wary. On April 1st as I entered the class in the morning I heard a chuckle from my school buddies. “Ha Ha ha , hello old woman” was the chorus. I glanced at the mirror near by and to my horror, my hair was all white! Some idiot had put talcum powder in to the hair dryer which I had used in the morning. In the 10th grade on April 1st, not to be done in, I checked my hair dryer and everything seemed okay until 11.00 am, as I sat in my class awaiting the science teacher, there were no mishaps. Well done, I thought. As the teacher entered the class, I found I couldn’t get up! There was glue on the chair and my uniform tore apart with the hardened gum! And there was a reprimand from my teacher to add to the mess.

So folks that’s April 1st - All Fool’s day! How did this day originate? Many of the ancient cultures such as Romans and Hindus and the medieval Europeans used to celebrate New Year's Day from March 20th to April 5th. In the Julian calendar, April 1st was designated as the New Year's Day and was so celebrated till 1582, when Pope Gregory XIII ordered the adoption of the new Gregorian Calendar, which specified January 1st as the New Year's Day.

However, due to slow communications and resistance of people to change their traditions, many people continued to celebrate New Year's Day as before on 1st of April. The Scottish only adopted the new calendar in 1660, the Germans, Danish and Norwegians in 1700 and the English in 1752. Many French resisted the change and neoiites dubbed them as fools and played pranks on them. They started sending them on 'fool's errands', sent them the fake invitations for parties and tricked them into believing something false. Thus, April Fool's Day originated and was popularly celebrated in England and in America and now even in India.

Published: 2009-10-31
Author: Amita Shanbag

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