April Fools’ Day is one of the most lighthearted days of the year. Some associate it with the turn of the seasons since it is close to the vernal equinox in March. Others believe it started in 1582 when Pope Gregory VIII adopted a new calendar which called for New Year’s Day to be celebrated January 1st.
Some people either did not like it or did not know about it and continued to celebrate New Year’s Day on April 1st. People began making fun of the folks who didn’t change and would send them on “fools’ errands” or try to trick them into believing something false. Those who are the victims of jokes are known as “April Fools.” While April Fools’ Day is not a national holiday in any country, it is well known in Canada, Europe, Australia, Brazil, and the United States.
One of the more popular hoaxes occurred in 1957 when the BBC broadcast a film purporting to show Swiss farmers picking freshly grown spaghetti, in what they called the Swiss spaghetti harvest. People flooded the phone lines at BBC with the requests to purchase a spaghetti plant. The BBC had some further fun by diplomatically replying “place a string of spaghetti in a tin of tomato sauce and hope for the best.” They had to declare the film a hoax on the news the next day.
I remember reading a few years ago in the April Sports Illustrated a story about a rookie pitcher, Sidd Finch, who signed to play for the Mets. He could reportedly throw a baseball 168 miles per hour with pinpoint accuracy. Sports Illustrated was flooded for more information about this magnificent player. The article was an April Fools’ hoax. The author of the article, George Plimpton, did give a clue in the subheading of the article, “He’s a pitcher, part yoga, and part recluse, impressively liberated from our opulent lifestyle, Sidd’s deciding about yoga – and his future in baseball.” The first letter of each of those words spelled out H-A-P-P-Y A-P-R-I-L F-O-O-L-S’ D-A-Y – A-H F-I-B.
This year April Fools’ Day comes a few days before Easter. For many people there is not a lot of difference in the two days – people treat Easter like it is just another day and could even be a hoax. Throughout history people have discounted the reality of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Easter is not a hoax. Through sin we make a fool out of ourselves – but the cross and Easter have the answer. While some people in the 1st century thought that the resurrection was a hoax, many people gave testimony to the fact that they had seen the Risen Lord. Paul wrote, “How do some among you say there is no resurrection…if there is no resurrection, Christ has not been raised, and if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain, and your faith is also in vain.” I Corinthians 15:12-14
Lie and life are close in spelling but vastly different in meaning. These two vastly different days demonstrate that. April Fools’ is based on a lie – Easter is based on life now and life eternal!
I don’t know of anyone who would intentionally omit Easter, but it can happen. The 1996-97 Southern Baptist Conventions’ calendar of activities omitted Easter. The calendar was a 16-month September to December long range planning calendar used by church leaders and produced by the Southern Baptist Convention’s executive committee. Inadvertently Easter was omitted. They quickly gave a press release indicating that it was a terrible mistake and completely unintentional. The Baptists believe in Easter!
Be alert for April Fools’ pranks – be more alert for evidences of the resurrection!