Jake’s take: the true history behind April Fools

Jake Arlow, Staff Writer

April Fools’ Day is a time of great reverence.  Not only is it a highly religious holiday, it is also a time of repentance and solemnity—April Fools!  Most fools don’t even know the origin of the holiday.  The most widely accepted theory is that in 1582 Pope Gregory XIII decreed the adoption of the Gregorian Calendar, which moved New Year’s Day from late March to Jan.1.  This was a tough change for some people, who either refused to adopt the new calendar or were simply unaware of the shifted date.  People who didn’t get the message were rightfully called April Fools.

It is understandable that not everyone knew the date had changed, as communication was surprisingly slow in the swinging sixteenth century.  Surprisingly, there are still people who have not been informed that the date has been changed.  These modern-day fools are in the dark, and it was my mission to enlighten them.

The April Fools include senior Wyndham John Daly Stopford, descendant of the late Duke of Stopford, one of the most famous April Fools, and junior Andrew Gruber.  When I approached Mr. Stopford, in the hallway he was sitting there leafing through his Julian Calendar like a simple peon.  I approached him with my sleek and modern Gregorian “Unusual Animal Friendships” calendar and thrust it into his hands.  He looked confused.

“I was walking down the hall and saw my peer Wyndham throwing something on the ground,” said fellow fool Gruber.  “He looked enraged.”

Change is a tough thing, the shift from the Julian to the Gregorian calendar especially.  In the time after the world shifted calendars, people would play pranks on the fools who still wrongly thought the holiday was in April.  The butts of these pranks became known as “April fish,” as a young, naive fish is easily caught.  A common practice was to hook a paper fish on someone’s back as a joke.  This is why Stopford can often be seen roaming the halls plastered with fish.  By showing him the Gregorian calendar, I was trying to help all of Schreiber’s fools.

“I just never knew New Year’s Day was moved to January 1st,” said Stopford.  “My family has celebrated the New Year on April 1st since great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great grandpa Stopford was a tiny boy.”

Senior Ariel Waldman is the president and founder of the Fair Treatment for April Fools club.  She is an advocate for equal rights and plans to continue her study of the Fools in college.  “I could not believe the treatment Wyndham John has received,” Waldman said.  “His differences should be celebrated, not eliminated.  Even if that means having him stay on the Julian calendar.”

That beautiful sentiment is something from which the entire school could benefit.  We must celebrate diversity as a Schreiber community.  We are all April Fools on the inside.