The Greek origins of April Fool’s Day

Can you spot the April Fool’s Day prank on our site today?

April Fools Day is widely celebrated in Greece. There are references to the day in 1564 when France reformed its calendar at the start of the year from the end of March to January 1.

Those who failed to keep up with the change, prefering instead to cling to the old calendar, may have been the first April fools.

Though it seems like a logical explanation, there are many characteristics of April Fool’s Day with the renewal festivals of Ancient Greece that required behavior not typically allowed, such as lying, deception and pranks.

Folklore historians point to April customs in Greece such as the belief that whoever digs on April 1 essentially digs their own grave, furthermore, April Water is believed to have many therapeutic qualities.

Greeks relish on playing pranks on this day. They believe that a successful prank brings the prankster well-being. Noteworthy was the prank played by the Greek government in 1995 when the Greek Ministry of Culture announced the discovery of the tomb of revered philosophers during Athens Metro excavations. It was also reported that a vase containing traces of hemlock and a piece of leather dating from between 400-390 BC was found. Agence France-Presse believed the report and was later forced to retract the story.

Will you be playing any pranks today?

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