Wednesday, April 1, 2009

When Did April Fool's Day Begin?

April Fools' Day or All Fools' Day, although not a holiday in its own right, is a day celebrated in many countries on April 1. The day is marked by the commission of hoaxes and other practical jokes of varying sophistication on friends, family members, enemies, and neighbors, or sending them on a fool's errand, the aim of which is to embarrass the gullible. Traditionally, in some countries, the jokes only last until noon: like UK, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and South Africa, someone who plays a trick after noon is called an "April Fool".[1] Elsewhere, such as in Ireland, France, and the USA, the jokes last all day.
Though pranksters and joke-lovers in many countries now gleefully prepare to dupe friends and loved ones on April Fool's Day, no one knows exactly when or why, or even where, this tradition began. A giddy spurt of practical joking seems to have coincided with the coming of spring since the time of the Ancient Romans and Celts, who celebrated a festival of mischief-making. The first mentions of an All Fool's Day (as it was formerly called) came in Europe in the Middle Ages.
Some trace April Fool's Day back to Roman mythology, particularly the story of Ceres, Goddess of the harvest, and her daughter, Proserpina.
Pluto, God of the Dead, abducted Proserpina and took her to live with him in the underworld. The girl called out to her mother, but Ceres could only hear the echo of her daughter's voice and searched for her in vain.
Such "fool's errands," or wild goose chases, became a popular practical joke in Europe in later centuries.
The most widespread theory of the origin of April Fool's Day is the switch from the old Julian to the Gregorian calendar (now in use) in the late 16th century. Under the Julian calendar, the New Year was celebrated during the week between March 25 and April 1, but under the Gregorian calendar, it was moved to Jan. 1. Those who were not notified of the change, or stubbornly kept to the old tradition, were often mocked and had jokes played on them on or around the old New Year.
In France, this took the form of pranksters sticking fish on the backs of those who celebrated the old custom, earning the victims of the prank the name Poisson d'Avril, or April Fish.
But the theory can't explain why the pranking tradition spread to other countries in Europe that did not adopt the Gregorian calendar until later.
In Scotland, the butts of April Fool's jokes were known as April "Gowks," another name for a cuckoo bird. The origins of the "Kick Me" sign can supposedly be traced back to the Scottish observance of the day.
In more recent times, radio stations, TV programs and Web sites have set up gullible readers and listeners. One of the most notorious jokes was a 1957 hoax BBC documentary of the annual spaghetti harvest in Switzerland, featuring a family plucking strands of the pasta from "spaghetti trees." The Italian favorite was still considered an exotic delicacy in Britain at the time, and many listeners were so fooled they wanted to find out how to get a spaghetti bush of their own.
On April 1, 2007 Internet search engine Google announced their new Gmail Paper service, where users of the free email service could save emails to a paper archive which Google would print out and mail for free. Last year, Google invited people to sign up for a Mars exploration project.
So while you're surfing the web or watching TV today, be wary of what you see and read, or you could end up an April Fool!


mak lang said...

Artikel yang saya baca versi Islam.

Some of the kuffaar (infidels) call this day All Fools' Day, as it is known to the English. That is because of the lies that they tell so that those who hear them might believe them and thus become a victim for those who are making fun of him.

Many of us celebrate what is known as April fool or, if it is translated literally, the "trick of April". But how much do we know of the bitter secret behind this day?

When the Muslims ruled Spain, approximately one thousand years ago, they were a force that could not be destroyed. The western Christians wished that they could wipe Islam from the face of the earth, and they succeeded to some extent.

They tried to limit the spread of Islam in Spain and to put an end to it, but they did not succeed. They tried numerous times and never succeeded.

After that, the kuffaar sent their spies to Spain to study and find out the secret of the Muslims' strength which could not be defeated. They discovered that adhering to taqwa (piety or consciousness of Allah) was the reason.

When the Christians discovered the secret of the Muslims' strength, they started to think of strategies to break this strength. On this basis they began to send wine and cigars to Spain for free.

This tactic on the part of the west produced results, and the faith of the Muslims began to weaken, especially among the young generation in Spain. The result of that was that the western Catholic Christians subdued the whole of Spain and put an end to the Muslim rule of that land which had lasted for more than eight hundred years. The last stronghold of the Muslims, in Grenada, fell on April 1st, hence they considered this to be the "trick of April."

From that year until the present, they celebrate this day and consider the Muslims to be fools. They do not regard only the army at Granada to be fools who are easily deceived, rather they apply that to the entire Muslim ummah. It is ignorant of us to join in these celebrations, and when we imitate them blindly in implementing this evil idea, this is a kind of blind imitation which confirms the foolishness of some of us in following them. Once we know the reason for this celebration, how can we celebrate our defeat?

After knowing this reality, let us make a promise to ourselves never to celebrate this day. We have to learn from the Spanish and adhere to the reality of Islam and never allow our faith to be weakened again.

I say: it does not matter what the origins of April fool are. What matters more is knowing the ruling on lying on this day, which we are sure did not exist during the first and best generations of Islam. It did not come from the Muslims, but rather from their enemies.

The things that happen on April fools' day are many. Some people have been told that their child or spouse or someone who is dear to them has died, and unable to bear this shock, they have died. Some have been told that they are being laid off, or that there has been a fire or an accident in which their family has been killed, so they suffer paralysis or heart attacks, or similar diseases.

Some people have been told about their wives, that they have been seen with other men, and this has led them to kill or divorce their wives.

These are the endless stories and incidents that we hear of, all of which are lies which are forbidden in Islam and unacceptable to common sense or honest chivalry.

We have seen how Islam forbids lying even in jest, and it forbids frightening a Muslim whether in seriousness or in jest, in words or in actions.

This is the law of Allah in which is wisdom and care for people's circumstances.

And Allah is the Source of Strength.

NIKO75 said...

Thanks Mak Lang.. very informative info..