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Farmers Almanac
The 2014 Farmers Almanac
Farmers' Almanac

How was April Fools’ Day Started?

How was April Fools’ Day Started?

Legends have it that April Fools’ Day began in France in 1564. Prior to 1564, April 1st used to be celebrated as New Year’s Day. Those who insisted on celebrating the “old” New Year’s became known as April fools and it became common to play jokes on one another.

Some also say that it has to do with Mother Nature fooling us. Sometimes, a late
March/early April storm brings snow, fooling us, since the calendar says it is spring.

A Fun Harmless April Fools’ Trick
Gather your friends (kids and grandchildren make great participants) and have them sit around a table. Place a bunch of ice cubes in a bowl on the table. Set a plate in front of each person. Challenge your unsuspecting April fools to stick their ice cubes on top of each other to see who can make the highest tower. This challenge will prove to be nearly impossible.

Now, show them how to do it. Put an ice cube on a plate and sprinkle some salt on the cube. Then place another cube on top of that one, holding it for a minute or two until it sticks in place. Continue using the salt, and you should be able to make quite a nice tower.

The trick is that salt causes the ice to melt instantly. Once melted, the water dilutes the salt and then the water refreezes, cementing the cubes together again.

If you notice a hole in the upper left-hand corner of your Farmers' Almanac, don't return it to the store! That hole isn't a defect; it's a part of history. Starting with the first edition of the Farmers' Almanac in 1818, readers used to nail holes into the corners to hang it up in their homes, barns, and outhouses (to provide both reading material and toilet paper). In 1910, the Almanac's publishers began pre-drilling holes in the corners to make it even easier for readers to keep all of that invaluable information (and paper) handy.