Friday, April 01, 2005

April Fool's Day ... Flash Your Stash!

Have you become an "April Fish" today? When I was a high-school teacher in Hong Kong, I was always a bit wary when April 1 came. I couldn't really be mad at the kids if they played tricks on me ... but who really wants to become a fool, honestly? So, I didn't really care to find out the origin. It turns out there is some interesting history behind:

April Fool's Day Has Serious Origins
"Fools" ignored the new calendar

by David Johnson

April Fool's Day is one of the most light hearted days of the year, yet it stems from a serious subject—the adoption of a new calendar.

A Traditional New Year's
Ancient cultures, including those as varied as the Romans and the Hindus, celebrated New Year's Day on April 1. It closely follows the vernal equinox (March 20th or March 21st.) In medieval times, much of Europe celebrated March 25, the Feast of Annunciation, as the beginning of the new year.
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 Jan. 1. Many countries, however, resisted the change. In fact, some European countries held out for centuries (Scotland until 1660; Germany, Denmark, and Norway until 1700; and England until 1752).

Many French Refuse
In 1564 France adopted the reformed calendar and shifted New Year's day to Jan. 1. However, many people either refused to accept the new date, or did not learn about it, and continued to celebrate New Year's Day April 1.
Other people began to make fun of these traditionalists, sending them on "fool's errands" or trying to trick them into believing something false.

April Fish
The French came to call April 1 Poisson d'Avril, or "April Fish." French children sometimes tape a picture of a fish on the back of their schoolmates, crying "Poisson d'Avril" when the prank is discovered.

Great Britain Accepts the Calendar
In 1752, Great Britain finally changed over to the Gregorian Calendar, and April Fool's Day began to be celebrated in England and in the American colonies.

Pranks and jokes are of course still popular on this day—not to mention the rest of the year.

Information taken from infoplease

Here is an April's Fool challenge for you ... see how many you can get right! And of course, don't forget to treat yourself with pictures of yummy yarns by checking out the participants of

flashyourstash

Don't worry, it's just yarns ... you can definitely read together with your teenage kids!

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