April 1: April Fools Day
Most of us, by tradition or convention, simply celebrate the 1st of April every year as April Fools Day by playing friendly pranks and harmless practical jokes on others.
Even the media comes out with April Fool goof-ups and hoaxes. Many of us enjoy fooling others and feel smarter than those who are fooled; something like the I-am-OK-You-are-not-OK syndrome.
Anyway, fun is always fun as long as he or she is not piqued when someone else cracks a joke on himself or herself, particularly when he or she enjoys cracking jokes on others. Playing pranks for fun can’t be a one-way-ticket; it has to be to-and-fro funny affair.
According to some historians, the April Fools Day was first celebrated after the adoption of the Gregorian Calendar and the term April Fool referred to someone still following the old Julian Calendar.
Many Middle Ages era communities celebrated the 1st of May as the first day of summer that indicated that the spring planting season was well neigh. An April Fool was someone who did this prematurely or on 1st of April, because he or she was following a different calendar.
The Biblical origin of April Fool goes back to the age of the Great Deluge and Noah’s Ark. After the incessant rains stopped, Noah sent a raven out of the Ark too early to look out for dry land even before the flood waters of the deluge had receded. He is supposed to have sent the raven on the 1st day of the Hebrew month Tammuz which corresponds with the 1st of April of our present calendar.
There is also a possible reference to April Fools Day in the 14th century Canterbury Tales, where an event between two fools takes place on the 32nd of March or the 1st of April since the month of March has only 31 days.
Another probable origin of April Fools Day is that the 1st of April was counted as the first day of the year in France until the 15th century. When King Charles IX (27 June 1550 – 30 May 1574) changed that to the 1st of January, some people still stayed with the 1st of April as the first day of the year and were taunted as April Fools.
Even today, we in India celebrate the New Year on the 1st of January, but the fiscal or financial year starts on the 1st of April making even the Union Government’s Budget operable from 1st of April onwards. Now, who is fooling whom?
The Indian general elections for the 15th Lok Sabha are in process and the first phase of voting takes place on the 16th of April, 2009. With all political parties (irrespective of flag, hue, symbol, policy, “ism”, political philosophy or manifesto) promising the moon to the electorate if they are elected, the 1st of April, 2009, ought to be honoured as the All India Voters April Fools Day.
Politicians have this uncanny talent to fool all of us and make fools of us after we vote. But, this time, let us not fool around our fundamental Right to Vote!
The Right to Franchise is our birth right. Let us not elect some foolish politician and make him or her as the 5-year franchisee of our next government. A true democratic government ought to be of the people, for all the people and by the right people!
Remember what the greatest of all American presidents, Abraham Lincoln said : “ You can fool some people all the time and all the people for some time. But, you cannot fool all the people all the time.”
The dictionary defines the word fool (noun) as: One who is deficient in judgment, sense, or understanding; One who acts unwisely on a given occasion: (I was a fool to have quit my job); One who has been tricked or made to appear ridiculous; a dupe: (They made a fool of me by pretending I had won); (Informal ) A person with a talent or enthusiasm for a certain activity: a dancing fool; a fool for skiing; A member of a royal or noble household who provided entertainment, as with jokes or antics; a jester; One who subverts convention or orthodoxy or varies from social conformity in order to reveal spiritual or moral truth: a holy fool;