Happy April Fool’s Day! | Sofia, Bulgaria

Since practical jokes, pranks and other such shenanigans are a bit hard to illustrate in the format of this blog, I thought I’d share the enlightening story of how the first day of April came to be an occasion for such activities.

April Fool’s Day seems to be connected to the switchover from the Julian calendar to the Gregorian one. According to the former, which was used until the second half of the sixteenth century (in most European countries, through some abolished it later), New Year’s was celebrated and gifts were exchanged on the first day of April. The new Gregorian calendar that replaced it thereafter moved the beginning of the New Year to the day on which we still mark it today – January 1.

But every year – just like the days following the time change for daylight savings (and I will not mention how I a certain somebody who went through the better half of last week, thinking that time was still one hour behind), some people didn’t catch on very quickly – they stuck to the old calendar and continued to celebrate the New Year and show up with gifts on April 1. Those “fools” were mocked by their friends, which stuck paper fish to their back and called them Poisson d’Avril, or April Fish.

Nowadays – according to the ever-so-wise Internet, “April 1 is a day for practical jokes in many countries around the world. The simplest jokes may involve children who tell each other that their shoelaces are undone and then cry out “April Fool!” when the victims glance at their feet.”

So there you have it. Happy April Fool’s Day and I hope you are either the source or, in the less enjoyable case, the butt of at least one good practical joke today! (Although it must be said that the weather this morning pulled a good one on all of Sofia’s residents – it was – and still is – snowing!)

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