Rumor has it that there is no fool like an old fool, but on April 1, he has company.
Evidently, April Fool’s Day derives from the fact that ancient cultures, including the Romans and Hindus, celebrated a new year on or around the first of April, coinciding with the arrival of spring. In the middle ages, much of Europe likewise observed March 25 as the Feast of Annunciation and the commencement of a new year. In 1582, however, the Vatican king replaced the old Julian calendar with his own, calling for each new year to begin on January 1. According to legend, some failed to get the message – perhaps their banks and insurance companies neglected to mail the new calendars – and they were mocked as fools and traditionalists for showing up in Times Square in early spring, expecting a ball to drop amidst a shower of confetti.