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Writing about Holidays: April Fools’ Day

Readers Love Holidays

Writers are always looking for new subject matter. Holidays are fun to write about, and readers love to read about them. However, most of the most common ones, like Easter, Fourth of July, or Thanksgiving, are over-used.

How can you discover less-familiar holidays to write about? Check out this holiday calendar from wincalendar.com. The link is to the U. S. April calendar, but you can advance to the next month by clicking on the arrow at top right of the calendar. Also, if you want other countries, click on the down arrow next to “United States.” Entries are color-coded by religious, secular, and miscellaneous orĀ  international.

Have fun with the holiday calendar. As an example of a holiday article, here’s my April Fools’ Day article which was previously published in Hometown Magazine. It’s been revised a bit, but the basics are the same.

April Fools’ Day: BOLO for Pranks

Today is April 1, April Fools’ Day. According to the encyclopedia, the proper name is All Fools’ Day. That certainly makes it more inclusive. We don’t want to leave any fools out. Also, I noticed that I have been spelling it wrong. Horrors—I spelled it “April Fool’s Day.” I assumed the word “fool” to be singular. One fool is plenty, in my book. However, Britannica and Merriam-Webster both spell it “April Fools’ Day”—apostrophe after the “s,” making it plural. It appears that fools abound.

As long as I was in the dictionary, I decided to look up the meaning of “fool.” The primary definition is “a person who lacks good sense or judgment.” I think that’s a very kind way to put it. But, there are more meanings to consider. Court jesters were sometimes called fools: “a retainer formerly kept in great households to provide casual entertainment and commonly dressed in motley with cap, bells, and bauble.” A fool is also a food: “a cold dessert of pureed fruit mixed with whipped cream or custard.” I think the one that applies to April Fools’ Day is this: “one who is victimized or made to appear foolish.” And—The Bible mentions fools numerous times. This is my favorite: “The fool has said in his heart, There is no God” Psalms 14:1 (NIV).

Brittanica states that there is no definitive history for April Fools’ Day. Spring festivals in ancient Rome and in India are possible origins. However, a popular theory is that it originated in France. Prior to 1564, the new year began on Easter, the exact date of which depends to this day on the lunar calendar. A decree by King Charles IX of France changed New Year’s Day to January 1. After that, any Frenchman celebrating the new year at Easter became known as an April Fool.

So—we know what a fool is, but we don’t really know how April Fools’ Day came to be an occasion to play jokes on others. How about you? Do you prank others on April 1? Did it occur to you that, when you shout “April Fool,” you’re accusing your target of lacking good sense? Or, if you play too many jokes, you might fall into that category yourself? Just something to think about. And be on the lookout (BOLO) for pranks today.

Readers, have you written about holidays? What unusual ones have you discovered? If you have online holiday articles, please post a link in your comment. If you receive this post by email, please click on the title of the post to go to my site. Scroll down to Leave a Reply and comment there.

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2 Responses to Writing about Holidays: April Fools’ Day

  1. Cecelia L. Lester April 2, 2017 at 3:46 pm #

    Some very interesting facts about April Fools’ Day. We had a brother-in-law who had a brother whose birthday was April 1. He was a true cut-up. Sometimes, we need some silliness in life so we can laugh. Blessings on you, Emily.

  2. Emily Akin April 2, 2017 at 4:16 pm #

    Glad you enjoyed the piece, Cecelia. I had a friend who was born on April 1. She had a unique sense of humor, too. She is deceased now. She said they did not celebrate on her birthday. Her family consisted of 9 or 10 children. They had one birthday party each year for everyone at the same time (in summer, if I remember correctly).

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