• 81°
Hartselle Enquirer

April Fool’s Day is the biggest April Fool’s joke of all

Mom’s corner

I am sorry I was unable to share with you the last couple of weeks, but we had a family emergency that required my attention. As I began to think about this week’s article, I noticed April Fools’ Day was just around the corner. I began to wonder just when April Fools’ Day started.
Well, here’s the real joke: No one really knows. Some think it started when Pope Gregory XII ordered a new calendar in 1582 and changed the start of the new year from April 1 to January 1. It took several years for everyone to find out and those who continued to celebrate on April 1 were targets of jokes.
However, this theory doesn’t quite work because there are references to April Fool’s Day pranks and jokes prior to the calendar change as early as the fourth century. Professor Joseph Boskin at Boston University offered the explanation that during the reign of Constantine a group of court jesters said they could do a better job of running the Roman Empire. So Emperor Constantine allowed them to do so for a day and the court jesters passed an edict calling for people to do absurd things and it became an annual event. Sounds good, right? The Associated Press thought it did too and published an article on it. Only one problem, Professor Boskin made the whole thing up! In reality, there seems to be no plausible explanation, especially considering that many other cultures from all over the world celebrate a day of jokes and pranks.
Obviously, this is not just an individual or family oriented day, there have been huge pranks intended to fool the general public. In 1998, Burger King told patrons that they had created a left-handed whopper. Yes, people fell for it. Also in 1998 the newsletter, New Mexicans for Science and Reason announced that Alabama had changed the value of pi from 3.14159 to the “Biblical value” of 3. Some of the pranks, such as the “War of the Worlds” prank by CBS radio and H. G. Wells, have created a serious amount of panic. Never-theless, pranks by the media have continued. It makes me wonder what will be next.
Perhaps the biggest practical joke is the one that is still going on after centuries is April Fool’s Day itself.

FRONT PAGE FEATURED

Challenger Matthew Frost unseats longtime Morgan Commissioner Don Stisher

FRONT PAGE FEATURED

Cheers to 50 years  

FRONT PAGE FEATURED

Scott Stadthagen confirmed to University of West Alabama Board of Trustees 

Editor's picks

Hartselle graduate creates product for amputees 

FRONT PAGE FEATURED

Tigers roar in Athens soccer win

Danville

Local family raises Autism awareness through dirt racing  

FRONT PAGE FEATURED

Three Hartselle students named National Merit finalists  

FRONT PAGE FEATURED

Morgan chief deputy graduates from FBI National Academy

FRONT PAGE FEATURED

Hartselle students collect food for good cause 

Falkville

Falkville to hold town-wide yard sale next month

At a Glance

Danville man dies after vehicle leaves Hudson Memorial Bridge 

Editor's picks

Clif Knight, former Hartselle mayor, Enquirer writer, dies at 88

FRONT PAGE FEATURED

Hartselle Utilities reminds community April is safe digging month 

FRONT PAGE FEATURED

Teen powerhouse invited to compete in international strongman event

FRONT PAGE FEATURED

Azaleas: An Alabama beauty 

Decatur

Master Gardeners plant sale returns in April

FRONT PAGE FEATURED

Morgan leaders honored at annual banquet

FRONT PAGE FEATURED

Local students selected for 2024 Blackburn Institute Class

FRONT PAGE FEATURED

Hartselle sophomore represents Civil Air Patrol in D.C.  

Editor's picks

Hartselle council hires architect for new fire station, library and event center

At a Glance

PowerGrid Services in Hartselle evacuated for bomb threat

Morgan County

20 under 40: Trey Chowning

Falkville

20 under 40: TJ Holmes

FRONT PAGE FEATURED

20 under 40: Spencer Bell

x