Rename April Fools' Day for the French

Rename April Fools Day for the French

By Buck Wolf

March 26  Ah, the French. They've given us great literature, fine wine … and April Fools' Day.

Many anthropologists say April Fools' Day is a French tradition dating back to the 16th century, putting the day practical jokers run amok alongside berets, bidets and croissants as a French cultural contribution.

April Fools' history remains a bit murky. Ancient Romans, among others, may have played a hand in institutionalizing a holiday when open season is declared on the gullible. But there's no denying France's role in the highly questionable practice of honoring put-ons and lame jokes.

The implications of this reckless behavior is clear: If anyone's ever hung a "Kick Me" sign on your posterior or spiked your sugar bowl with salt, Paris is ultimately responsible — and they should pay.

If Congress deems it worthy to rechristen "French"-named food in their cafeteria, taking on the French for lame April Fools' Day jokes is even more reasonable. It's time for lawmakers to act, quickly and decisively, just as they did in taking the French out of their toast and fries.

Do we need to strip April Fools' Day from our calendars? That's extreme. I suggest a more modest proposal: Let's just give the French proper billing and send a message to gay Paree.

From now on, let April 1 be known as "Franco-Fools' Day."

History’s Fishy Gift

The French connection to April Fools' Day is no joke. It all started in 1564, when King Charles IX of France adopted the Gregorian calendar, thereby switching the New Year's Day to Jan. 1.

Up until then, Europe used the Julian calendar and held New Year's celebrations around the spring equinox, on dates ranging from March 21 to April 1.

But news of King Charles' edict spread rather slowly — especially in small towns. And, as always, the French held tight to their old traditions and defiantly celebrated New Year's on the old date.

The result: calendar chaos. Suddenly, that old excuse, "I'll pay you next year," took on even less significance.