We’ve all felt like a fool at one time or another, some of us maybe more than others. Yet we proud fools of western culture have a rich history dating all the way back to Chaucer's Canterbury Tales in 1392.
"Syn March Bigan Thritty Dayes and Two" the story begins in the "Nun's Priest's Tale" with the protagonist rooster Chauntecleer soon to be tricked by the fox. The set up is beautifully crafted through misunderstanding April 1st to be the 32nd of March. But who is duped, the reader or the characters in the story?
This is our culture's first documented hoax for April 1st. This "just for fun for it’s own sake" All Fools Day evolved across Europe over the centuries. Much of it attributed to the change in our calendar from the Julian to the Gregorian in 1582 when New Years was conveniently moved from the week March 25 - April 1, to the day, January 1st.
The Julian calendar assumed the year was 365.25 days. That's dang close but actually it's 11 minutes less than that. It may seem trivial but every 4 centuries we're 3 days off and since we started way way back with the Julius Caesar calendar in 45 BC, by the time we flip to Pope Gregory the XIII's calendar in 1582 to sync Easter it's happening on March 11th (which is totally unacceptable, yet my birthday).
The point being that time was reset not only forwards but backwards by the authorities and for those who held true to the old calendar and refused to change, we called them fools! Kind of reminds me of Y2K and other totally modern things we do.
If you remember your European history you know some fools had official position.
A Court Jester’s job was to bring objectivity to the royal conversation by telling jokes, demonstrating the fool, bringing humor and levity, and thus a better perspective.
I say we need to bring them back in a most official capacity! Not under the guise of an institutional government sanctioned expert, institution, program or department. Just sayin'
Photo credit to free-extras.com - April Fools Jokes...
Anyway, I find the history of fools a worthy study, especially in these times. I found this great site with The Top 100 April Fool’s Day Hoaxes of all Times.
There’s some absolute classics if you have a few minutes to look. I remember many of them from over the years.
In 1962 Kjell Stensson announced on Swiss TV that you could convert your black and white television to color with a nylon stocking.
In 1996 Taco Time announced it bought the Liberty Bell and it's now the Taco Liberty Bell.
I had several laughs discovering how many pranks have been played by NPR. In 1992 they did a piece announcing Richard Nixon was running for president again.
In 1998 Burger King introduced the left handed Whopper. The condiments were the same but rotated 180 degrees to better accommodate their left handed patrons.
We’re all gullible at one time or another. So celebrate it
All Fools Day, a Holiday just for us!
Don’t be cruel, have fun, and keep a watchful eye...
Syn March Bigan Thritty Dayes and Two!
Let us be thankful for the fools. But for them the rest of us could not succeed. -- Mark Twain