The origin of April Fool’s Day is actually found in the Church. Yes! A lot of people don’t know this. Although various historians offered different accounts on the origin of April Fool’s Day, here’s one believed to be true and how it all started.
Pope Gregory XIII on February 24, 1582, issued the papal bull Inter Gravissimas. This means he issued a decree ordering that all Christian nations adopt a standardized calendar, called the Gregorian calendar. This decree established the Gregorian calendar. If you can relate, it gets its name from this pope, I mean Gregory. This calender is the official one for the Christian world. With this pronouncement, the Julian calendar was replaced and the first day of the new year was moved to January 1 instead of the end of March. There were people who never went with the new change. This caused a great deal of confusion for some, and these people who continued to observe it on April 1, whether out of resistance or because they didn’t receive the news, were considered foolish and were ridiculed.
According to the theory of the two calendars, most Christians wanted to celebrate the start of the New Year on April 1, because they considered it near Easter Sunday. Due to its relevance, it was proposed during the time of Christianity in Rome, as opposed to the calendar made up by Julius Caesar in 46 B.C. to honor the Roman god of new beginnings, Janus.
Being a foolish person is not an admirable quality to strive for; quite the contrary, in fact, here is a question for thought, why would anybody desire to make a fool of themselves?
As it is believed, the entire Christian faith is founded on the life of one man who was thought by many to be “a fool”.
It can be argued that the Christian life is a call to foolishness. As Elvis Presley once sang, “If I’m a fool for loving you, then that’s just what I want to be.” If anyone can strongly claim to be a fool and prove so for loving a particular person or group of people, then it’s Jesus Christ. His teachings were radical or foolish as some might say but as a human nature of God the Father, loving like a fool is what he came to teach all.
When was the last time you loved like a fool, forgotten? Perhaps, we have a wrong perception of April Fool’s Day.
Instead of being a fool to someone, why not emulate the teaching of St. Paul, when he wrote in his letter to the Corinthians, a fool for someone; namely, Christ. Don’t put a “kick me” sign on your wife’s back; put a “kiss me” sign on your forehead.
It is true that April Fool’s Day is done for good fun and it is not bad itself, but as with any other day, let it be an opportunity for conversion, that our hearts might be more conformed to that of “Christ the Fool.” So, Christianity is one of the factors that led to the creation of April 1.
This is another important contribution the Church has made to society. Once we realize that, then we’re one step closer to realizing how important the Church is to our daily lives. Christianity is not just something we might do for an hour on Sundays; it’s how we should be living and orienting our daily lives. And that’s no joke! It is not an April fool!
Are you seriously planning on pulling some pranks on a family member or friend for April Fool’s Day?
You may have the Catholic Church to thank, according to historical accounts. Happy April 1!