April 1st is one of my favorite days of the year, a day when being a fool is more forgivable, perhaps, than the rest of the year. This day of pranks, like many other social customs, has its roots in other countries. In this quiz, we’ll check how this custom might have taken hold, although you have to wonder whether the researchers might be pulling our leg. Good luck and you know what they say about fools rushing in....
1. What’s another name for April Fools’ Day?
a. All Souls Day
b. All Fools Day
c. All Fouls Day
d. All Soils Day
2. In Rome, an ancient festival that resembles our modern April Fools’ Day was called what?
3. On what day was that ancient Roman festival observed?
a. March 25
b. April 1
c. April 31
d. Feb. 29
4. In India, another similar celebration was held. What was the name of that festival?
4. On what day does that celebration end?
a. March 25
b. March 31
c. April 31
d. May 2
5. But some say that the modern custom may have originated in France. What is said to have precipitated such a day?
a. A change in a law that limited drinking of French wines
b. A change in the calendar
c. A change in the schedule of the Metro
d. A change in the laws that led to the beheading of the foolish Marie Antoinette
6. In what year did that precipitating event occur?
7. That precipitating event was associated with which pope?
a. Benedict XVI
b. John Paul II
c. Gregory XIII
d. Alexander Pope
8. Then again, the day might have been associated with what other event?
a. Sadie Hawkins Day, when some men felt as though they had been tricked into accepting a date with a woman they didn’t like.
b. April 15, when some Americans believe that they’ve been made fools of by the federal government.
c. The vernal equinox, when people are fooled by what time it is on the clock as opposed to their body clocks.
d. Pi Day, or 3-14, when mathematicians delight in throwing pi in people’s faces.
9. In France, what name is applied to the person who is fooled on this day?
a. Poisson d’avril, or April Fish
b. Art Deco, which many consider a frivolous form of design.
c. Enfant terrible, or terrible child, for the kids who play naughty tricks
10. In Scotland, what is the day called?
a. Heathers Day
b. Gowkie Day
c. Haggis Day
d. Every Day
11. Bonus point: In 1996, what company announced that it would be buying the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia as a way to help reduce the national debt, setting off a furor among people who didn’t realize it was a prank (or think it was funny)?
12. Extra extra credit: After that stunt, White House Press Secretary Mike McCurry announced that what national monument had been auctioned off to a like-named company? What was its new name to be? (It was a joke, remember.)
3 a (and if you chose c, you’ve been fooled twice because there is no April 31)
4. b (and if you chose c, well, fool you once, shame on me, fool you twice, shame on you)
5. b, a change over to the Gregorian calendar
Bonus: Taco Bell, which set off a furor when it announced that this symbol would be called the Taco Liberty Bell.
Extra credit: McCurry said the Lincoln Memorial had been auctioned off and would henceforth be known as the Ford Lincoln Mercury Memorial.
Sources: Encyclopedia Britannica, Times archives and “The Joy of Family Traditions,” by Jennifer Trainer Thompson