The History of April Fools Day
At Joker Greeting, we take April Fool’s Day very seriously: after all, it’s the day we launched. In the spirit of our illustrious founding, we’d like to take a moment to educate you on how this momentous but oft-neglected holiday was formed.
The history of April Fool’s Day dates back to the bleak days of the 1200s in the town of Northunderton in what is modern-day Wales. Northunderton suffered the same fates as other towns of its day: famine, rampant sickness, and exceptionally pungent body odor. Since there were no sidewalks or concrete, the entire town was covered in a thick layer of manure, which transferred to hair and hands and clothes and meant that everything was just inordinately crappy. The weather was bad. The cows were mean. The women were ugly.
The mayor of Northunderton — Mayor Putrice — looked around at his shitty town and decided his people needed a break. He arranged a festival at the start of Spring, right when the town was at its muddiest and angriest, that was be “a most excelent Delight, filled wit the very Finest of pleasantrys.” The festival promised merriment and excitement and fantastic surprises.
On the day of the festival, April 1st, the town gathered in the square in preparation for the festival. There was some confusion, however: many of the town’s men seemed to have vanished overnight. Even stranger, long gallows had been erected in front of the Town Hall, but there were no hangings scheduled and no criminals needing punishment.
At the stroke of noon, a row of horns sounded and Mayor Putrice strode into the square in his finest overcoat.
“My dearest Norunderlings, we are gathered here on this momentous occasion to celebrate the ever noble hand of justice! No fewer than twenty-four of our very own have been arrested, tried, and found guilty for the crime of — “ Here, the mayor began coughing uncontrollably. “Pardon me. Anyway! Death by hanging!”
Twenty-four of the town’s men were marched into the gallows and the ropes were firmly tied around their necks. The crowd watched in horror as their friends, husbands, brothers, and barbers prepared to meet their death. The Mayor stood with a bemused smile on his face, unaffected by the crowd’s cries of anger.
The twenty-four men wept and pleaded for their lives, but the Mayor ignored them.
“Get ready!” The Mayor shouted.
The Gallowsman took hold of the handle.
“Get set!” The Mayor shouted again.
“No!” Screamed the crowd.
“And….” The Mayor raised his arms.
Babies screamed. Mothers wept. Men shouted. With the dropping of his arms, twenty-four of their own would be lost forever, necks snapped in retaliation for crimes no one understood. A terror gripped the crowd.
“JUST KIDDING!” The mayor shouted, dropping his arms.
The Gallowsman pulled the handle, but instead of the men dropping through the floor of the Gallows, confetti shot out from the wooden corners.
“Happy April, you idiots!” Mayor Putrice shouted.
The crowd, realizing it had all been a fantastic prank, looked at each other and laughed, clapping their hands and agreeing that they had been totally stupid and that it was the best surprise in the history of Northunderton. They spent the rest of the day drinking ale and eating roasted lamb and beating up the candlestick maker, just for fun.
All agreed it was a much-needed break from perpetual poverty and the day became known as April Fool’s Day from that day forward.
Today, we celebrate April Fool’s day with pranks, anonymous gifts, and cruelty that would be unacceptable any other day of the year. It’s a hallowed day and one that should never be forgotten.
by Joker Greeting / www.jokergreeting.com / Extremely Unique Greeting Cards /
Okay…so we might have gotten away ahead of ourselves with this one. We don’t know the history of April Fools…but isn’t this the point of April Fools?