April is here, and spring too, although it doesn’t feel like it yet here in the Northeast. And, although each month has many daily, weekly and monthly observances, the celebrations really blossom during this April.
Of course, we all know that April 1st is April Fool’s Day. Celebrated in many countries in addition to the U.S., it’s a day to play harmless jokes and pranks on unsuspecting friends and family. The exact origins of this day are unknown. The first English written record of tricks on this date is Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, written in 1392. A word of advice: plan your jokes early in the day before your victim remembers the date.
A more sobering day is April 15th – Income Tax Day, when Uncle Sam expects his full share of our hard-earned wages. Why April 15th? When the 16th Amendment to the Constitution, allowing income tax to be collected, was ratified on February 3, 1913, the first tax returns were due a year later, on March 1, 1914. Later that date shifted to March 15th and then to April 15th in 1955, allegedly to give the IRS more time for their workload. This year, those affected by Massachusetts’s and Maine’s Patriot’s Day holidays, which also fall on April 15th, get an extra day to file Federal tax returns.
Emancipation Day is celebrated on April 22nd in Washington D.C. In 1862, President Lincoln signed the Compensated Emancipation Act, freeing more than 3,000 slaves in the D.C. area nine months before the Emancipation Proclamation. Several other states also celebrate Emancipation Day holidays on different days. Fittingly, Jackie Robinson Day, usually celebrated on April 15th, recognizes the April 11, 1947 landmark occasion of the first time that an African American played in a major league baseball game.
On March 21, 1970 (that year’s vernal equinox), the first Earth Day was celebrated in the U.S. Events in thousands of universities, schools and communities brought more than 20 million Americans to “teach-ins” devoted to raising awareness of environmental issues. This year, on April 22nd, show your appreciation for our planet by planting a tree, donating time to a local environmental effort, or teaching a child the importance of recycling.
Unusual April Observances
Some April celebrations are both absurd and obscure. How many of these are familiar?
- Walk Around Things Day on April 4th, quickly followed by
- Jump Over Things Day on April 6th
- Visit a zoo on Zoo Lover’s Day (April 8th)
- Indulge in your favorite treats on National Eggs Benedict Day, April 16th, and National Pineapple Upside-Down Day, April 20th
- Be sure to tell the truth on National Honesty Day, as this was our first president’s inauguration in 1789
You can find a comprehensive list of all that April has to offer here.
Month-Long Observances on Children’s Issues
Two month-long observances center on serious child-related issues. April has been designated as Autism Awareness Month since 1970. It’s an opportunity to highlight this developmental disability to build awareness and education.
April is also National Child Abuse Prevention Month. First established in 1983, the goal of this observance is to build awareness of child abuse conditions through information and updated national statistics of abuse and neglect.
Autism and situations of child abuse are serious issues that many of your students or employees face every day. Keep in mind the value of an EAP referral to anyone who you believe may need help with these concerns. An EAP professional is only a phone call away.