April Fools in San Felipe

San Felipe, Baja, Mexico

April Fool's Day in Mexico
Mexico's (and Spain's) counterpart to April Fool's Day is actually observed on December 28, the Día de los Santos Inocentes . Originally the day was a sad remembrance of the alleged slaughter of the innocent children by King Herod. It eventually evolved into a lighter commemoration involving pranks and trickery. Traditionally Mexican children would borrow, but not repay, small loans from unsuspecting friends and relatives they consider a soft touch. Once they've received the loan, they say the following verse (quoted in Frances Toor's, A Treasury of Mexican Folkways, 1947) or something similar:

Inocente Palomita
Que te dejaste engañar
Sabiendo que en este día
Nada se debe prestar.
Innocent little dove
You have let yourself be fooled
Knowing that on this day
You should lend nothing.

Here in San Felipe a good part of the population is so taken by the tradition that they enthusiastically transpose Dia de los Santos Inocentes onto the other 364 days of the year --without the verse.

A Traditional New Year's Becomes April Fool's Day
Ancient cultures, including those as varied as the Romans and the Hindus, celebrated New Year's Day on April 1. It closely follows the vernal equinox (March 20th or March 21st). In medieval times, much of Europe celebrated March 25, the Feast of Annunciation, as the beginning of the new year.

In 1582, Pope Gregory XIII ordered a new calendar (the Gregorian Calendar) to replace the old Julian Calendar. The new calendar called for New Year's Day to be celebrated Jan.1. Many countries, however, resisted the change. In fact, some European countries held out for centuries (Scotland until 1660; Germany, Denmark, and Norway until 1700; and England until 1752).

san felipe april foolsMany French Refuse
In 1564 France adopted the reformed calendar and shifted New Year's day to Jan. 1. However, many people either refused to accept the new date, or did not learn about it, and continued to celebrate New Year's Day April 1. Other people began to make fun of these traditionalists, sending them on "fool's errands" or trying to trick them into believing something false.

April Fish
The French came to call April 1 Poisson d'Avril, or "April Fish." French children sometimes taped a picture of a fish on the back of their schoolmates, crying "Poisson d'Avril" when the prank was discovered.

Great Britain Accepts the Calendar
In 1752, Great Britain finally changed over to the Gregorian Calendar, and April Fool's Day began to be celebrated in England and in the American colonies. Pranks and jokes are of course still popular on this day—not to mention the rest of the year.