L'Éclaireur du Dimanche


Be on your guard as the day that begins the second quarter of the year approaches: don't be fooled by the traditional April Fool's joke.

Nothing is more common, as we know, than to make fun of the world on that day, by making it believe erroneous news; It is then that the children are sent to fetch a rope to bind the wind, an eel mold, a living stockvisch, and a thousand other drolleries, which every year have the gift of making their laughing faces blossom. The bailiff instructs his clerk to go and ask a colleague for the code of future judgments, a work which is as difficult to publish here as elsewhere.

Let us review the different versions attached to this custom, as obscure in its origin as the thing itself is vulgar. Everything suggests that it was only established, at least by its current name, towards the end of the 16th century, when the year ceased to begin in April, in accordance with an ordinance which Charles IX returned in 1564, and which Parliament did not record until 1567.

As a result of such a change, the New Years, which were given in April or January indifferently, having been reserved for the initial day of this last month, on April 1st, only joking congratulations were given to those who only reluctantly adopted the new regime; we had fun mystifying them with simulated gifts, with misleading messages, and as in April the sun has just left the zodiacal sign of Pisces, we gave these simulacra the name of April Fools. It should be noted that of all the peoples among whom this entertainment is in use, it is only the French who have designated it by the sign of the fish transported in April, if we except the Italians, who use this analogous expression, pescar l'aprile, to fish in April. The English say to make April fool, to make April fool, and the Germans: den April Schicken, to send into April.

In April Zendt men de zotten Waar men wil.
In April they send fools wherever they please.

According to others, the origin of this saying should be attributed to the following fact: A prince of Lorraine, who had shown himself favorable to the house of Austria, had been imprisoned, by order of Louis XIII, in the castle of Nancy. But on April 1, 1634, the prince, deceiving his guards, escaped by swimming across the Moselle, which made the people of Lorraine say that it was a fish that had been given to the French to keep. Unfortunately for this ingenious anecdote, the saying predates this event, as we have just indicated by the preceding explanations.

Another version, which finds many believers, wants that the Fish is a corruption of Passion and is linked to the painful episode where Our Savior was sent by way of insult and derision, from Anna to Caiaphas, from Caiaphas to Pilate, from Pilate to Herod and from Herod to Pilate.

The crude Impressarii of the Middle Ages seized on the fact, which they translated into "Farces and Mysteries for the great and good edification of people"

Finally, some anglers claim that April Fool's Day is the opening of fishing, which takes place on April 1 in different countries; however, as it is always unsuccessful, hence the nickname came.

Here are the few versions that we have found as to the origin of this fool's day.


 L'Éclaireur du dimanche april fool