Time to Celebrate the Silly Season

1 Apr 2014

Several months ago, I was fortunate enough to have one of my blogging days land on Bonfire Night. I wanted to write about the story of Guy Fawkes and started by looking at other people who were executed for similar crimes. The post ended up focusing on how perfectly both Bonfire Night and Halloween match the season in which they are celebrated.

Both holidays have a spooky and/or macabre feel to them, making them particularly well suited to a season characterised by shorter days and a rather creepy chill to the air.

This got me thinking when I realised that I was going to get to blog on April Fools’ day as well. This article on About.com talks a bit about the origins of April Fools’ day, mentioning that, while the leading theory suggests that April Fools started when New Year’s Day shifted from the end of March to the first of January, this doesn’t explain why there are so many cheerful holidays around this time of year.

He mentions the Roman holiday of Hilaria, which took place in mid/late March, the Hindu holiday of Holi, celebrated in early March or late February, and I would add the ever popular MayDay celebrations, but offers no explanation for why these holidays are so prevalent at this time of year.

I think it all goes back to the feel of the season. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that we’ve got spooky holidays in the autumn and cheerful holidays in the spring. Slowly but surely, spring is on its way. The days are getting longer and we are starting to see the sun on a more regular basis (even here in Yorkshire, if you can believe it!), the spring flowers are in bloom, the birds are chirping, and everywhere you look things are starting to look like winter is finally ending.

Sounds like the perfect excuse for a bit of merrymaking to me!