April 1 Is No Joke. Or is it?
Does anyone know where did this silly tradition come from?
Nope. Nada. It seems that no one knows where the idea for April Fools Day came from. Of course, you can Google it until the cows come home — if you have cows. But, of course, if you don’t have cows and suddenly find yourself surrounded by cows, it could be an April Fools Day prank, so proceed with caution.
I learned some things while doing my typical very in-depth research writing this article. First, France switched from the Julian Calendar to the Gregorian Calendar in 1582. Back in the day, the Julian and Hindu Calendars set the day of each New Year around the spring equinox: April 1 plus or minus. It made obvious sense to start the year at the beginning of Spring. So what happened?
Organized religion charged around waving their goblets in the air, Jesus Chips™ falling from their pockets, and proclaimed, “This will not do! We must start the year in-between seasons as God so clearly intended. Do you dare question the wisdom of GOD?!?”
The news didn’t travel fast back then, so many people didn’t realize the calendar had been reset to start each year on January 1 and that 1,150 some-odd years had been rezoned for the birth of Christ. So these poor Julian’d souls would be busy celebrating New Year during the last week of March into the beginning of April just like they had for the previous 750+ years. Fools.
Those “in the know” would make fun of those who didn’t, or so one story goes.
Pope Gregory XIII recalibrated the calendar to fix an issue introduced by Julius Caesar (yes, the “Salad Guy”) where the length of the solar year was 11 minutes off. Unfortunately, this miscalculation caused all manner of chaos when it came to Easter — a big important religious holiday featuring zombies and eventually bunnies who poop chocolate for kids to find.
Since we first started noticing time, there have been calendars, and these calendars have sought to reconcile our Lunar Year with our Solar Year (silly Caesar). These early calendars were great for understanding the seasons so you would know when to skin a mammoth for new winter boots or when in August you should collect rocks for your kid’s abacus.
More often than not, a new dynasty somewhere in the world would trigger the invention of a new calendar to celebrate their “age of illumination,” thereby fooling the common people into thinking this dynasty was more important than the previous dynasty.
There are many calendars at work worldwide, and “our super cool and wise Gregorian one” is not the only one. So for a bit of perspective, here are the current years in these calendars as of this date:
- Gregorian Calendar 2,022
- Julian Calendar 2,775
- Hebrew Calendar 5,782
- Hijri Calendar 1,443
- Buddhist Calendar 2,564
- Vikram Savat 2,078
- Japanese Calendar Reiwa 4
- Scientific Calendar 4,540,000,000 (+/- 500 million years)
You might be saying out loud, “Hey, where’s the April Fools Day joke, Dargie?”
To which I would reply, “We’re clearly living it every day, and I hope you find time to enjoy the foolishness of it all.”
Clearly, I’m no Calendarologist, so if some of the other calendar years are off please let me know in the comments. And if you’re a geologist who would like to argue that the world is actually 4.6B years old, I already concede, you are probably right.