April Fools Day is widely celebrated in Greece. There are references to the day in 1564 when France reformed its calendar at the start of the year from March to January 1.
Those who failed to keep up with the change, preferring instead to cling to the old calendar, may have been the first April fools.
Though it seems like a logical explanation, there are many characteristics of April Fool’s Day with Ancient Greece’s renewal festivals that required behaviour not typically allowed, such as lying, deception and pranks.
A ‘renewal festivals’ took place in many different cultures to mark the beginning of spring.
Folklore historians point to April customs in Greece, believing that whoever digs on April 1 essentially digs their own grave.
If it rains on April Fools’ Day, in some parts of Greece, the water is believed to have healing powers.
Greeks relish playing pranks on this day. They believe that a successful joke brings the prankster well-being.
Noteworthy was the Greek government’s prank in 1995 when the Greek Ministry of Culture announced the tomb of revered philosophers during Athens Metro excavations.
It was also reported that a vase containing traces of hemlock and a piece of leather dating from between 400-390 BC was found.
Agence France-Presse believed the report and ran the story but was later forced to retract the story.