Apr 1, 2010

April Fool’s Day

The story is told about an April fool’s joke played in London 150 years ago. During the last week of March, invitations were sent to many of the city’s prominent citizens. It read: “Tower of London. Admit bearer and friend to view the annual ceremony of Washing the White Lions on Sunday, April 1, 1860. Admittance at the White Gate.” Many carriages drove around Tower Hill that day looking for a white gate that wasn’t there.

The customs of April Fool’s Day probably begun about 427 years ago when Pope Gregory brought out a new calendar making January 1 the beginning of the year. Until then March 21 had been the start of New Year’s celebrations that ended on April 1. After the calendar was changed, some people still held on to the old festivities at that time of year. These people were called April Fools.

Gradually the day became one for making people look foolish. Unsuspecting folks have been sent on futile errands to bring back hens’ teeth, pigeons’ milk, or sweet vinegar. They have looked in the mirror for smudges that did not exist, or answered the doorbell to find no one there.

Don’t be fool this April fool’s Day!

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