Monday, April 01, 2013

April Fools Origins

Nobody is sure who, where or when the custom of playing tricks on this day actually began, but there are a few interesting possibilities:

The French claim that Francois Rabelais (16th century) chose the Royal Family as the mark for a daring prank that nearly cost him his very life! The story is he left a bag of brick dust labeled as poison to be discovered. When the truth was revealed (and his life was spared), but the Royal Family remained to be called the “un poisson d’avril.”

The Italian version of April Fools Day is “pesce d’ aprile!” (April fish). This reference goes back a little further into the Middle Ages where references are made to the arrest and trial of Jesus, being sent back and forth from Pilate to Herod then back again, from Herod to Pilate. The “pesce d’ aprile” involves sending people on senseless errands as diversion to set up a prank, or as the trick itself.

Isn’t it interesting that Eta Piscium is the brightest star seen in the constellation Pisces (the Fish) between February and April? Early Christians were called “pisces” (Latin) and “ichthues” (Greek) because of the fish symbol they used to identify themselves. 

And can you imagine what the fisher-disciples must have been thinking when Jesus told the catchless crew to cast their nets on the other side of the boat? “You gotta be kidding me, Jesus!” But they did.

The first trick was played by that great deceiver, the devil himself, in the Garden of Eden and his trick was not designed for laughter but for harm. Satan schemed to ruin man by deception and the plan would have worked had God not intervened and sent His Son to bear the sins of mankind.

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