Tuesday, April 1, 2014

April's Fool

It’s the first day of April and who knows what mischief is afoot.  We clever humans never seem to lack imagination for new and improved ways to trick our fellows into all kinds of silliness (Hoaxes) on this spring day memorable for nothing save its place of first on an imaginary chronology (the modern-day calendar).

All kinds of theories abound online as to its origins, but my own favorite traces back to ancient Persia and Zoroastrianism.  Nowruz, or new year, is upon us in certain parts of the world and in Iran today is still celebrated the ancient Persian rite of Sizdah Bedar typically falls near the first of April.  Sizdah Bedar celebrates family and the promise of a good harvest.

The Zoroastrians believed that
laughter and joy symbolize the throwing away of all bad thoughts. According to Zoroastrianism, the bad thoughts are coming from the Devil Angra Mainyu (in Middle Persian: Ahriman) and the celebrations of New Year and Sizdah Bedar will cleanse all bad thoughts. Avesta, the holy scripture of the Zoroastrian faith, recalls that all those who love purity were responsible for celebrating Sizdah Bedar to help the Angel of Goodness prevail over the earth in the struggle against the Evil and the Devil.  Wikipedia
The object, then, is not who is the most clever, but rather the evocation of laughter and joy.

Having, hopefully, left behind our last snow of the year in these parts, the dawning of April finds us almost
Photo by Mariam Foster 
giddy with relief as we emerge from our winter cocoons and observe the tiny evidences of spring abounding in the greening of the land and find ourselves laughing for no apparent reason save the joy of the moment.

Laughter and joy as an antidote against bad thoughts and evil – now there’s a blessing to get behind.  

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