April Fool’s Day fell on Easter this year, for the first time since 1956 and only the twelfth time since the 1600’s.
While most Westerners well know the origins of Easter, or at least used to, historians don’t agree on the date “All Fool’s Day” originated. Some speculate that April Fools’ Day dates back to 1582, when France switched from the Julian calendar to the Gregorian calendar, as required by the Council of Trent in 1563. People who were slow to get the news or failed to recognize that the start of the new year had moved to January 1-- and continued to celebrate it during the final days of March through April 1-- became the butt of jokes and the victim of hoaxes.
Others believe that April Fool’s Day was tied to the vernal equinox, or first day of spring in the Northern Hemisphere, when Mother Nature often fooled people with changing, unpredictable weather. However, perhaps this belief is itself an elaborate hoax, as it seems unlikely that weather could have changed much back then, in the halcyon days before humans started spewing greenhouse gases into the atmosphere via Western industrial societies.
On April 1st, 1700, inveterate scamps and pranksters in England began popularizing the annual tradition of April/All Fool’s Day by playing practical jokes on each other. The gags included placing paper fish on other’s backs and referring to them as “poisson d’avril,” or April fish, marking them as gullible persons akin to young, easily caught fish.
Fast forward to 2018. It’s likely more young folks are familiar with the “traditions” and “meaning” of April Fool’s Day than are versed in Jesus’ crucifixion and subsequent resurrection. Perhaps more even “celebrate” All Fools Day. Certainly, more take part in Halloween activities. And, to the extent that many do look forward to Easter, it is for the same reason they look forward to Halloween: the anticipation of receiving candy. Easter egg hunts, chocolate bunnies, and pastel M&Ms.
Many in today’s hyper-secular culture worship themselves. (“We are the ones we’ve been waiting for!”). Many more worship at the altar of political-correctness. A growing number even claim to worship Satan.
Making others look like fools is one thing. But, in caring only about what we can get while ignoring the most meaningful sacrifice of all…we make ourselves into fools.
May God help us all.
He’s already tried to…by offering us the gift of eternal salvation.