Tuesday, March 31, 2009

April Fool's!

Several years ago when I still had a chalk board (oh, I miss that chalk board), I had the vocabulary words for that week on the board.  We had a test that Friday, which just so happened to be April 1st.  The poor students came in and thought that I had carelessly left the words on the board.  They chuckled and tried to keep a straight face.  They snuck glances when they thought I was not looking.  The delighted in getting one up on the teacher and felt relieved that they were going to get away without having studied (yet again).  However, being the mean and utterly evil teacher that I am, I had decided to play a trick on those unsuspecting children.  The Thursday afternoon before, I carefully erased the words and replaced them with misspelled versions.  When they found out, they cried foul.  I laughed at them and teetering on if I should or should not count the test, one student snottily said, "If you had studied, you would have known the words were misspelled" (you gotta love teacher's pets).  I won't say if I really did count the grade or not, but let's just say I am very susceptible to the dark side of the force.

Now, April Fool's day has been with us for a very long time.  The same jokes get used over and over again.  All of us remember getting fooled at least once, few of us can really tout having a really cool joke to play on others. But where did this holiday start?  It seems that for years people have not known the answer.  In 1708, in the British magazine Apollo, the question of the holiday's origin was raised, even then with an unsatisfactory answer.  Oh I know you have heard something about the calendar change causing problems and such, but there are many possible origins.  You can read about them here: http://www.museumofhoaxes.com/hoax/Hoaxipedia/April_Fools_Day_-_Origin/

Of course, the one we're interested in is mythologically oriented.  Here is the account, according to the page listed above:

In Roman mythology Pluto, the God of the Dead, abducted Proserpina and brought her to live with him in the underworld. Proserpina called out to her mother Ceres (the Goddess of grain and the harvest) for help, but Ceres, who could only hear the echo of her daughter’s voice, searched in vain for Proserpina. Some scholars theorized that the fruitless search of Ceres for her daughter (commemorated during the Roman festival of Cerealia) was the mythological antecedent of the fool’s errands popular on April 1st.

And that is no April Fools!

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