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  • Writer's pictureMatilda Butler

You Just Won Our Biggest Prize Ever -- April Fool's Day!

Sorry, I Couldn't Resist an April Fool's Joke, After All It is April 1


As a Child, I Especially Loved April 1

I prepared my usual routine each April 1 morning. I dressed for school, came to the kitchen, and sat at our small glass-topped table. My father was making coffee in a glass coffee pot. I'd gasp in surprise and say, "Look Daddy. There's a fly in the coffee pot." He would look at the pot and express surprise and puzzlement. He probably knew this was my joke each year. But I was just a little kid and thought I'd pulled one on my dad.




And What About You? Do You Have Any Favorite April Fool's Jokes?

It's always great to look back at our childhoods and share memories. If you remember past April Fool's Day, share you story with a famiy member or a friend. It's a great way to make connections.



NO FOOLING. How About a Little History on April Fool's Day?

As you probably know, April Fool's Day, also known as All Fool's Day, is celebrated on April 1st each year, and is a day where people play practical jokes and hoaxes on each other. The origins of this day are somewhat uncertain, with various theories and legends explaining how it came about.


THEORY #1: One of the most popular theories of the origins of April Fool's Day is that it began in France in the 16th century. At that time, the French celebrated New Year's Day on April 1st, and it was a time of great revelry and feasting. However, in 1562, King Charles IX of France officially changed the calendar and moved the start of the year to January 1st. Some people continued to celebrate the new year on April 1st, and they were ridiculed by others who thought they were foolish for not following the new calendar. This is said to be the beginning of the tradition of playing practical jokes on April 1st.


THEORY #2: Another theory suggests that April Fool's Day may have originated from ancient Roman festivals, such as Hilaria, which were held in late March and involved costumes and practical jokes. The idea is that these celebrations were later adopted by Christians and moved to April 1st, which became known as All Fool's Day.


Women and April Fool's Day

There are also some stories of women who were involved in the history of April Fool's Day, although their roles are often overlooked.


One such woman is Queen Mary I of England, who was known as "Bloody Mary" for her persecution of Protestants. According to one legend, Mary was fooled by her court jester on April 1st, who told her that he had seen a miracle in which her sister, Queen Elizabeth, had given birth to a litter of kittens. Mary believed the joke and was said to have laughed heartily, despite her reputation for being stern and humorless.


Another woman who may have played a role in the origins of April Fool's Day is Mother Goose, the fictional author of nursery rhymes. Some historians believe that Mother Goose was a woman named Elizabeth Goose, who lived in Boston in the late 17th century. Elizabeth was known for her sense of humor and her love of practical jokes, and some of her antics may have contributed to the tradition of April Fool's Day.


Not Surprisingly -- Men Rather Than Women Are More Often Association With April 1

Despite these stories of women who may have played a role in the history of April Fool's Day, the holiday is often associated with men and their pranks. This is perhaps because practical joking has historically been seen as a masculine pursuit, and women who engaged in such behavior were often criticized or punished. (This isn't surprising.)


Mary Toft

In fact, there are numerous examples throughout history of women who were punished for their pranks and hoaxes. One such woman was Mary Toft, an English woman who in 1726 convinced doctors that she had given birth to rabbits. Toft's hoax was eventually exposed, and she was charged with fraud and sent to prison.


Anne Royall

Another woman who was punished for her pranks was Anne Royall, an American writer who in the early 19th century traveled the country interviewing politicians and other public figures. Royall was known for her sharp wit and her willingness to call out hypocrisy and corruption, but her satirical writings often landed her in trouble. In 1829, she was arrested for "being a common scold," a charge that was often used to punish women who were seen as too outspoken or troublesome.


Virginia Woolf

Some of the most famous pranks in history have been carried out by women. One such woman was Virginia Woolf, the renowned British writer. In 1924, Woolf and her friends played a prank on the writer Horace Walpole, who was known for his belief in the supernatural. They sent him a fake letter from the ghost of his deceased friend, which he believed to be genuine.


Belle Starr

Another famous female prankster was Belle Starr, a notorious outlaw who lived in the American West in the late 19th century. Starr was known for her sharp wit and her love of practical jokes. One of her most famous pranks was when she dressed up as a man and rode into town to rob a bank. When she was caught, she revealed her true identity and laughed at the stunned townspeople.


Lucille Ball

There are also many female comedians and satirists who have used April Fool's Day as an opportunity to showcase their wit and humor. One such woman was Lucille Ball, the beloved actress and comedian. As a child, I loved watching her television shows. Some of the episodes are etched forever in my mind.


In 1951, Ball played a prank on her husband and fellow actor, Desi Arnaz, by pretending to be pregnant. She wore a fake belly and went on a diet of milk and crackers to simulate morning sickness. The prank was so convincing that it made headlines around the world.

One of my favorite Lucile Ball Episodes



 

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