Tracing back the ancient origins of April Fools’ Day

On 1 st April every year, people around the world celebrate April Fools’ Day, sometimes called All Fools’ Day, a day when merriment and joviality is supposed to reign and pranks, practical jokes, and hoaxes are socially sanctioned.  The tradition of April Fools’ Day has been observed for at least five centuries, but evidence suggests it traces back nearly two millennia or more.  Despite the day being marked by many countries around the world, there is still little agreement as to its true origins.

A popular theory suggests that April Fools’ day is a remnant of early ‘renewal festivals’ which took place in many different cultures to mark the beginning of spring. The Romans, for example, had a festival named Hilaria on 25 th March, which they marked with masquerades and “general good cheer.” According to the Museum of Hoaxes , these festivities typically involved “ritualized forms of mayhem and misrule.”  Participants donned disguises, played tricks on friends as well as strangers, and inverted the social order.

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The Ancient Pagan Origins of Easter

Easter  Sunday is a festival and holiday celebrated by millions of people around the world who honour the resurrection of Jesus from the dead, described in the New Testament as having occurred three days after his crucifixion at Calvary. It is also the day that children excitedly wait for the Easter bunny to arrive and deliver their treats of chocolate eggs. Easter is a ‘movable feast’ which is chosen to correspond with the first Sunday following the full moon after the March equinox, and occurs on different dates around the world since western churches use the Gregorian calendar, while eastern churches use the Julian calendar. So where did this ‘movable feast’ begin, and what are the origins of the traditions and customs celebrated on this important day around the world?

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