Ahhh, yes. It is that time once again. April Fools’, also referred to as All Fools’ day, is a day when children and adults alike are encouraged to take part in some lighthearted mischief. During April Fools’ it is ok to not take ourselves so seriously and, in the words of the Roman poet Horace, one can “Mix a little foolishness with your prudence: It’s good to be silly at the right moment.”
While it is difficult to pinpoint when exactly the tradition of April Fools’ began, one of the most notable stories from the holiday’s early history can be traced back to the 16th century. When Western European countries (such as France, Italy, Portugal, and Spain) adopted the Gregorian calendar in the 1580s, New Year’s Day was moved from April 1 to January 1. Those foolish enough to partake in the New Year’s festivities on April 1 were thus dubbed “April Fools.”
Through our research, using the newspapers we have digitized for the NJDNP, we found that the spirit of the April Fools holiday was alive and well at the turn of the 20th century. Below are some articles that we hope you will enjoy!
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(Contributed by Giovanna Ligato-Pugliese and Jacob Paul)