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History Of April Fool’s Day

History of April Fool’s day

April Fool’s Day- The lost city of Ajewole in Old Oyo.

The story they will never tell you in History class. The history of April fool’s day can be linked to Africa.

Many factors were responsible for the unrest that rocked Yoruba land in 1829, most of which you have been told by your grandparents or thought in class, but there is one you have probably never been told- The mystery behind the disappearance of the inhabitants of Ajewole.

The city of Ajewole meaning “wealth enters” was one of the main economic and urban center of the old Oyo, it was the seat of the renowned Olu-ija.

The people of old Oyo witnessed one of the strangest things ever, a phenomenon that Science has no explanation for till date.

On this day in 1828, the 300 inhabitants of fast rising town of Ajewole disappeared overnight, leaving behind their food, clothes, and other possessions. The shocking sight was discovered by the messengers of the Alaafin of Oyo who sent emissaries to tell them about the impending war and also to ask the Chief of Ajewole to send the share of the annual proceeds to Ibadan.

The emissaries sent by the Alaafin was shocked when they got to the city gates and saw the gates unguarded, but became more concerned as they moved further into the town and saw the quietness, the burnt foods over the dying fire, and the left over foods.

the unguarded city gates

They continued further into the town thinking they were having a meting at the Chief’s palace, but to their utmost surprise there was also no sign of life at the chief’s palace. After searching the whole town, one of the emissaries ran back to Oyo to report to the Alaafin.

abandoned city

The Alaafin thinking the Egba’s were responsible went to Ajewole with hundreds of warriors in search of the lost people, after searching for months he returned to Oyo and launched an attack at the Egbas, which contributed to the war of 1829.

The people have not been found till today and several stories and theories ranging from how the Egbas had taken the people captive and buried them and of how the gods have poured their wrath on the people of Ajewole have evolved.

Speculations about how the people had left their home so as not to be involved in the war that was closing in on them had also risen. This would have been a good theory, except it does not wholly explain why the people will leave their possessions in the middle of the night, neither has there been any news of people joining or forming a new clan around that time.

It was not until the British came in 1893 and brought in their archaeologists to study the ruins that they were able to find a clue as to what must have happened that fateful  night. They saw a engraved on a rock – a writing the people thought was a message from the gods and had turned into a shrine. It took some months for them to put the pieces together and when they did, they discovered it was an English word- a two letter word “APRIL FOOL”

april fool

Hahahahahah, I got you there! This is an hoax version of the history of April fool’s day, if you really believed this then you should know by now that you have been pranked.

The origin of April fool’s day is not known although some believe it was used to make jest of the people that kept on celebrating the New year on April 1 instead of January 1 after the reformation of the calendar by Pope Gregory in the 1500s.

Some believed it could be traced to the Holi festival in India or the Feast of the Fools in old Europe, where people drop their title,age and gender and become someone else for a day each year.

Have you ever pulled a prank on anyone on April 1 before? Tell me about it in the comment section.

Folu Olufunke

Folu Olufunke is a writer, curriculum developer and an educationist. When she isn't scouting for the next juicy story to bring here, you'll find her neck deep in her books or advocating for quality education for all

This Post Has 11 Comments
    1. aww…thanks a lot.
      i hope to see you more of you here and do not forget to click on the subscription button!

  1. Seriously! You got me with this!

    U derseve to be spanked ah swear.

    That was how one pregnant woman pranked myself and a few other persons this morning that there was a snake lurking around somewhere close to us.

    Chai! The speed wey I use go carry stick ehn alongside with some folks ehn… Amidst the tension, she just shouted “April Fool”. Chai! I felt like breaking her head that moment ehn.

  2. Seriously! You got me with this!

    U derseve to be spanked ah swear.

    That was how one pregnant woman pranked myself and a few other persons this morning that there was a snake lurking around somewhere close to us.

    Chai! The speed wey I use go carry stick ehn alongside with some folks ehn… Amidst the tension, she just shouted “April Fool”. Chai! I felt like breaking her head that moment ehn.

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