English translation: Julian -> Gregorian Calendar Change
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also called ALL FOOLS' Day, first day of April, named from the
custom of playing practical jokes or sending friends on fools'
errands on that date. Although it has been observed for centuries
in several countries, the origin of the custom is unknown. It
resembles other festivals, such as the Hilaria of ancient Rome
(March 25) and the Holi festival of India (ending March 31).
Its timing seems related to the vernal equinox (March 21),
when nature "fools" mankind with sudden changes in the weather.
On April Fools' Day all people are given an excuse to play the
fool. In France the fooled person is called poisson d'avril
("April fish"), but the origin of the name is unknown. In April
the cuckoo, emblem of simpletons, comes, so in Scotland the
victim is called gowk (cuckoo). The custom of playing April Fools'
jokes was taken to America by the British. It has continued to
be observed by children and adults and sometimes involves rather
elaborate hoaxes as well as merely simple jokes.