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Date: Monday, January 1, 2001 
Question/Topic: April Fool's Day 
Answer/Pointer: Known by the British as "All Fool's Day," there are many stories concerning its origin (what better way to celebrate April Fool's than by making up stories about how it came to exist?). One account, of course, takes us into the realm of Roman mythology. Apparently, Proserpina (the daughter of Ceres, the goddess of agriculture) was playing in the Elysian fields when she was kidnapped by Pluto, King of Hades, to be his queen. Her mother heard her screams and went looking for her, but to no avail. Thus, it is said that this began the custom of sending gullible people on fools errands. (To be honest, this story seems like a stretch to me). Another account, probably much more accurate, takes us to the Middle Ages when the Julian calendar was replaced by the Gregorian calendar. Until that time, Christians celebrated the new year with a festival beginning March 25 and ending April 1. The last day of the festivities was devoted to giving gifts to one's friends and neighbors. When the Gregorian calendar was adopted by England in 1752, New Year's Day was moved back to January 1, but practical jokers continued to give mock gifts on April 1, thus April Fool's Day was born. The Scots refer to a victim of a practical joke as one who is "hunting the gowk" (gowk is the extinct cuckoo bird). In France, he is called "poisson d'Avril" or "fish of April." The April fish is newly hatched and thus easy to trap. Source: 
Librarian: LCLCPL 

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