The last time the Christian holiday of Easter coincided with April Fools Day was 62 years ago in 1956. Well, the day is almost upon us again this year, and if April Fool’s pranks are your thing, put on your thinking cap, because this year you have some stiff competition.
After all, this year pranksters are competing with Jesus and what many historians claim is the best prank in the history of the world – The day Jesus punked the Devil and refused to stay dead.
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THE ULTIMATE PRANK
In case you haven’t heard about this particular prank before: Jesus died but was resurrected three days later, playing the ultimate prank on the Devil.
Before you break out the pitchforks, even Christians used to see the humor in this. It’s known as the “ransom theory of atonement.” The theory is that God tricked the Devil by offering Jesus as a “sacrificial ransom” in order to break the Devil’s grasp on humanity.
Obviously, Jesus didn’t stay dead. Take that, Devil!
EASTER FOOLS DAY
The history of April Fools day is murky, but it coincides with religion and Easter more than you would think. As a matter of fact, April Fools Day’s connections with religion date back centuries.
According to Bernhard Schweizer, A Long Island University Professor who studied religious humor, in Germany in the 15th through the 17th centuries, there was a ritual called “risus paschalis,” otherwise known as “Easter Laughter.”
During the ritual, priests would encourage the congregation to tell jokes inside the church and laugh out loud on Easter.
“Easter was an occasion for joy, and collective laughter was seen as the strongest, most direct expression of joy,” said Schweizer.
It was only later in the 1600s when the leadership at the time became concerned with others mocking Christianity that the “Easter Laughter” ritual came to an end as a result of an order from the Pope.
“There’s a lot of good when Christians laugh and enjoy life,” said Father Dwight Longenecker.
APRIL FOOLS PRANKS
It should come as no surprise that after long winters spent indoors, the advent of warmer weather can, at times, inspire giddiness.
Hopefully, the warmer weather also inspires those would-be pranksters, as well. Lord knows this year they face some stiff competition.
Feature Image via Pixabay