Tour the fort and see if you can identify odd things that just don’t belong. Solve riddles and win prizes.
Historians don’t agree on the origins of April Fools Day. One theory has it that April Fools’ Day dates back to 1582, when France switched from the Julian calendar to the Gregorian Calendar, as called for by the Council of Trent in 1563. In the Julian Calendar, the new year began in March.
People who were slow to get the news or failed to recognize that the start of the new year had moved to January 1 and continued to celebrate it during March through April 1 became the butt of jokes and hoaxes and were called “April fools.” These pranks included having paper fish placed on their backs and being referred to as “poisson d’avril” (April fish), said to symbolize a young, easily caught fish and a gullible person.
April Fools’ Day spread throughout Britain during the 18th century. In Scotland, the tradition became a two-day event, starting with “hunting the gowk,” in which people were sent on phony errands (gowk is a word for cuckoo bird, a symbol for fool) and followed by Tailie Day, which involved pranks played on people’s derrieres, such as pinning fake tails or “kick me” signs on them.
Visitors to Old Fort Niagara on April 1 will have the opportunity to search for anachronisms and other things that are out of place, guided by riddles.
Join us for April Fools Day fun (without the “Kick Me” signs).