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April Fools Day

Do you know the origin of April Fools Day?  It is believed that it was as a result of a change in our calendar.

In many ancient cultures, New Year's Day was on April 1.  However, in 1582, Pope Gregory XIII ordered a new calendar (the Gregorian Calendar) to replace the old Julian Calendar.  The new calendar called for New Year's Day to be celebrated on January 1.

In those days, because of a lack of good communication systems (like TV and radio), word spread very slowly. Therefore, many people did not know of the change of the New Year's Day for several years.  There were also those who simply ignored the change and those who merely forgot. These people were considered "fools" and jokes were played on them.


These days, people in many parts of the world play tricks on each other on April 1.


In Scotland, April Fools Day actually lasts for 2 days.  The second day is known as "Taily Day" and pranks involving the posterior part of our body are played.


In France, "April Fool" is the "fish of April." The fish in April are newly hatched and easily caught.  French children enjoy taping a picture of a fish on their friend's back and yelling out "Poisson d’Avril!" when it is found.


In North America, pranks of all kinds are played on just about everybody.   After they play the prank, they will say "April Fool!"

Check your comprehension:


1.  New Year's Day used to be on April 1.

True  False

2.  The new calendar is called the Gregorian Calendar.

True False

3.  Many people were called fools because they celebrated April Fools on April 1.

True False

4.  April Fools Day lasts for 2 days in France.

True False

5.  In France, people are called "fish of April" when they are being tricked.

True False

6.  In America, people will say "Poisson d'Avril" after they play a prank on their friend.

True False



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Last Update: 2005-11-24.  Copyright 2005 Second Nature Online English. All Rights Reserved.


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