By Sister Julie Myers, OSF
Today as this blog rolls out to all potential readers, so too does the annual custom of “April Fools” around the world! No fooling!!
Who, in their childhood, didn’t try pulling a few pranks on family and friends? Some of us still give thought and effort to tapping a few “fools” in our midst for a good laugh followed by a shout out of APRIL FOOLS!!
April Fool’s Day is simply an annual custom of hilarity and fun relatively common in various regions of the world. At the start of this blog, I wondered how big of a thing this custom was, and if it’s just a custom here in the United States or do other countries engage in this scheming art?
In Googling “April Fools’ Day I discovered this trickery has been celebrated for several centuries by different cultures, though its exact origins are mostly unknown. I was amazed to learn that some speculate that April Fools’ Day dates back to 1582, when France switched from the Julian calendar (new year starting April 1) to the Gregorian calendar (new year starting January 1).
People who were slow to get the news or failed to recognize that the start of the new year had moved from April to January and continued to celebrate it during the last week of March became the brunt of jokes and hoaxes and were called “April fools”.
Although many pranksters would beg to differ, April Fools’ Day is not a public holiday in any country, well… except in Odessa, Ukraine, where April 1st is an official city holiday. Wikipedia notes that “Jokesters often expose their actions by shouting ‘April Fools!’ at the recipient of their joke or prank”. So, April Fools’ is a real thing that has touched the world round.
There is also a term found in scripture: “fools for Christ” and it comes from the writings of St. Paul to the Corinthians:
“We are fools on Christ’s account, but you are wise in Christ;
we are weak, but you are strong;
you are held in honor, but we in disrepute.”
1 Corinthians 4:10
Being a fool for Christ is “to employ shocking and unconventional behavior that challenges what is accepted as normal in the world, to deliver prophecies, or to mask their piety.”
Aren’t we all called to be Holy Fools—living Christ’s message which contradicts the norms of today’s society, living forward out of a joyful spirit, a kind heart, and acts of unassuming goodness? Today as you celebrate this custom of hilarity and fun, consider how you are also called to be that holy fool for Christ’s sake in our world.
And that’s no joke!