Happy New Year to all of our fans and followers! And yes, that makes me an April Fool.
See, many, many moons ago (in the late 1500s), those in power noticed that the calendar was out of whack with reality and decided to change it. The Pope decreed that the Julian calendar should be the one used; and one of the effects of the change was moving the start of the year from April first (which had once fallen on the Spring Equinox) to January first. People who still celebrated the equinox as the start of the year, whether for religious reasons or just because they were out of touch, were “April Fools.” (Other reasons have been postulated; see the Wikipedia entry for more theories, and for a list of famous pranks.) Being an April Fool used to just mean getting jeered and laughed at; then someone decided it was fun to embarrass the gullible, so the pranks were born.
I like the way the British see the holiday; pranks are only acceptable until noon, and after that the “April Fool” is the prankster. Here in the States, we have to be on the lookout all day long. Pfui. And the tradition of fake news stories, of course, can hit at any time, with occasionally disastrous results. (The Wikipedia entry listed above has a list of real news stories that happened on 4/1 that no one believed because of the date.)
Since we here in the Holy Order of Our Lady of Debauchery believe that New Year’s happens whenever you think it does, we don’t go in for the pranking thing. But any holiday that makes people laugh is a good thing — so, as long as you don’t go after people who don’t wanna play, have fun. That’s what it’s for, right?
My favorite explanation for the origin of the holiday was done by the Simpsons; have a giggle at no one else’s expense. And a Happy New Year, or April Fools’ Day, to all of you!