Today is the day of pranks, jokes, and trickery. Some people go to outlandish and extravagant efforts to pull a prank on others. But how did this custom get started? I went to the Library of Congress website to find some answers.

The following definition was provided: April Fools’ Day is celebrated by sending people on fruitless errands, giving inedible treats, and other pranks. That dug a little deeper but it didn’t give me the “why” I was looking to learn.

An archived article from The San Francisco Call dated April 01, 1900 referred to a possible event in 1599 between the Romans and the Sabines. Many refer to this event as the origin of this day of tricks. Other references look to the old calendar that began the year on March 25th; the first week of the New Year was full of frolics and festivities, culminating on April 1st.

How many variations of this story would I find? I worried that this was a rabbit hole and I could search for days to find even more versions and suppositions, with no finality.

I decided to take a different approach and look at events happening on this date in history, thinking that it might shed some light on the subject. So I perused through papal history, astronomy highlights, and sports achievements, only to reach a feeling of failure. But at that very point, I happened upon something that I knew would end my search. The world’s first smelling TV screen was unveiled in Japan on April 1, 2013. That just had to be a joke. And I realized my frustrating search was a prank someone pulled on me.

Happy April Fools’ Day!

Melody K. Smith

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