“Work? Why, cert’nly it would work, like rats a-fighting. But it’s too blame’ simple; there ain’t nothing to it. What’s the good of a plan that ain’t no more trouble than that? It’s as mild as goose-milk. Why, Huck, it wouldn’t make no more talk than breaking into a soap factory.” Huck Finn’s friend, Tom, trying to convince him to work for him by painting a fence on April Fool’s Day.
No one seems to know the origin of April Fool’s Day. Some believe it started in ancient Rome, where people celebrated the festival of Hilaria on March 25th, a day of merrymaking and pranks. Other sources suggest it may have originated from the spring equinox, a time of rebirth and renewal, when people would play pranks to celebrate the changing season.
The most popular theory, however, is that April Fool’s Day originated in France in the 16th century. In 1582, King Charles IX of France adopted the Gregorian calendar, which shifted the start of the new year from April 1st to January 1st. Some people resisted this change and continued to celebrate the new year on April 1st. These people were mocked and tricked by others, and the tradition of playing pranks on April 1st became widespread.
As in Huck Finn’s day, modern April Fool’s Day is celebrated around the world, with people playing practical jokes on each other and the media often publishing fake news stories for the occasion.
Here are three popular novels that mention the April Fool’s Day celebration in case you’d like to check them out:
“The Adventures of Tom Sawyer” by Mark Twain, a classic novel.
“To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee: In one scene of this Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, the Finch children play an April Fools’ Day prank on their reclusive neighbor, Boo Radley.
“The Da Vinci Code” by Dan Brown: This bestselling thriller features an April Fools’ Day prank played by the antagonist, who uses a fake phone call to lure the protagonist, Robert Langdon, into a trap.