April Fools Day has been celebrated for several centuries by different cultures, yet its origins are unclear. Historians speculate that it began in France in 1582 when the New Year was changed from April 1 to January 1. Those who continued to celebrate the New Year in April became the butt of practical jokes. A common prank was to fix a paper fish on their backs and call them a “poisson d’avril” (April fish), said to symbolize a young, easily caught fish and a gullible person. Other origins of the custom are linked to “Hilaria” from Roman times when people dressed up in disguises to trick one another.
Times Illustrated by Julie and Julien Libersat is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.