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Religion News Service

Let’s be clear: April Fools’ Day is not a religious holiday. It does, however, trace its origins to a pope. The day began, most believe, in 1582, when Pope Gregory XIII decreed the adoption of the “Gregorian calendar” — named after himself — which moved New Year’s Day from the end of March to Jan. 1. The change was published widely, but those who didn’t get the message and continued to celebrate on April 1 “were ridiculed and called April Fools.” Even though the annual panoply of pranks may not be grounded in any ancient religious merrymaking, the notion of “holy fools” does have a long and respected place in Judeo-Christian history.


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