Sadly This Will Be Our Last Blog

by Bob Sparrow

Suzanne and I have made a tough decision, based on personal factors, after nearly 13 years of first, Morning News in Verse, which appeared every Tuesday and Friday from August 2011 to March 2012, then From A Bird’s Eye View, which has appeared every Monday morning from March 2012 until today, that this will be our last blog . . . this week.

 OK, when I haven’t been traveling, the history of the most current holiday seems to attract my attention, and this week, rather than try to explain why we celebrated the resurrection of Christ by hiding colorful bunny eggs, I decided to explore April Fool’s Day.  I know it’s not really a holiday, it’s a . . . well, I’m not sure what it is!!  But, I’m sure you are sitting on pins and needles wondering, “What the heck is the incredible history of this crazy day?”  Well, wonder no more.

Or maybe you better keep wondering, as April Fool’s Day’s true origin is unknown and probably unknowable.  What you may not know is that the day is celebrated around the world, in many different ways.  To wit . . .

In Ireland, it is traditional to entrust the victim with an “important letter” to be given to a named person. That person would read the letter, then ask the victim to take it to someone else, and so on. The letter when opened contained the words “send the fool further”.

Danes, Finns, Icelanders, Norwegians and Swedes celebrate April Fools’ Day with most news media outlets publishing one false story on the front page of their local newspaper.

In Poland, April 1 has been a traditional day of pranks, where very sophisticated hoaxes are perpetrated by people, media and even public institutions.  Serious activities are usually avoided; every word said on April 1st could be untrue, as a day of pranks is a centuries-long tradition, but it only lasts until noon.

In France where the fool was called an ‘April Fish’ instead of an ‘April Fool’; due to the prank of taping a paper fish to someone’s back without them knowing it. (Replaced by ‘Kick Me’ in the U.S.)  On a possible historic note, in France, in 1564, Charles IX decreed that the new year would no longer begin on Easter, as had been common throughout Christendom, but rather on January 1. Because Easter was a lunar and therefore moveable date, those who clung to the old ways were the “April Fools.”

In Scotland, the day is Gowkie Day, a day for fools and may have been associated at one time with sexual license.  The PG rating for our blogs prevents me from any further explanation.

In England there is reference to April 1st in Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, where the rooster, Chauntecleer is tricked by the fox.  Also in England, on April 1st, starting in 1698, people were tricked into going to the Tower of London to “see the Lions washed”.

Hope you had a Happy Easter, and if you were duped on April 1, you’ve joined a worldwide brotherhood of ‘Fools’.   And sorry for those who had hopes of not having our drivel pop up in their email every Monday morning, but we’re not increasing our prices!