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April Fools on the Folklife Today Podcast

An old Tarot card depicting a bagpipe player with a loose red gown that is falling off, a crow on his left shoulder, and leaves on his head.

This card from the Sola Busca Tarot Deck, probably created by Nicola di maestro Antonio (1448-1511) represents The Fool as a bagpipe player! [Public Domain Image.]

As you may have figured out, our previous post about having discovered the origin of all folklore everywhere was an April Fools’ Day practical joke.  If you followed the link to the podcast, you actually heard about the roots of the April Fools’ Day tradition.  This post is to set the record straight!

Episode six of the Folklife Today Podcast is ready for listening! Find it at this page on the Library’s website, or on iTunes, or with your usual podcatcher.

Get your podcast here!

In this amusing episode, John Fenn and I explore the holiday of April Fools’ Day with the help of AFC staff. You’ll learn about the history of April Fools’ day along with the legends that accompany it. We discuss various tricks and pranks associated with the Fools’ day, specifically the pranks that students played on their teachers in the early 20th century. You’ll also hear a traditional Irish ballad associated with April Fools’ Day. Most of that material was taken from this previous blog post over at Folklife Today.

There’s one segment in the podcast that we’ve not yet blogged about here: Jennifer Cutting tells us about the intricate April Fools’ pranks AFC staff play on each other at the Library!  That’s an angle you can only hear about in the podcast, so head on over and listen!

Herstory, ‘Crowded Wartime Washington’ and the Code Girls Reunion

The following is a guest blog post by Sally Sims Stokes, the daughter of World War II “Code Girl” Jean Ashby Sims. “Dear Library,” my mother begins the World War II memoir she completed in 2008 for the Library of Congress Veterans History Project. This salutation was her way of responding, as if in a […]

“In Comes I, Old Father Christmas”: Surprising History of a Christmas Icon

  During the holiday season, I spend a lot of time dressed in old-fashioned clothes, singing, acting, and making merry as Father Christmas. The character has been part of our AFC mummers’ play since 2010, and part of the tradition of mummers’ plays probably since its inception. Several of the earliest surviving mummers’ play texts, […]

“The Greatest American Battle of the War” – A Visit From Those Who Were There

Care must be taken in telling our proud tale not to claim for the British Army an undue share what is undoubtedly the greatest American battle of the war, and will, I believe, be regarded as an ever famous American victory.” – Sir Winston Churchill, addressing the House of Commons on January 18, 1945 Commemorating […]

FrankenMumming: The 2018 AFC Mummers’ Play

Note: Every year, in the week of the Library’s holiday party, staff members of the American Folklife Center put our research and performance skills into play, bringing collections to life in a dramatic performance that tours the halls of the Library of Congress.  Dressed in costumes that range from striking to silly, we sing, act, […]

“Someday at Christmas, There’ll Be No Wars”: Winter Holidays in the Military

This is a guest post by Sam Meier, a former LC Junior Fellow who is currently working on a variety of reference-related projects for the Veterans History Project (VHP).  December 25, 1917 found William James Bean in quarantine at Fort Hamilton in Brooklyn, New York. Bean had been inducted into the Army a little more […]

Christmas Songs Podcast is Live!

Episode three of the Folklife Today Podcast is ready for listening! Find it at this page on the Library’s website, or on iTunes, or with your usual podcatcher. Get your podcast here!   Our latest podcast presents some of our favorite Christmas songs.  In this blog post, I’ll present the full versions of all the songs.  […]

Mumming Up Soon! AFC Mumming is Wednesday!

The American Folklife Center Mummers will present their annual mummers’ play in the Great Hall of the Library of Congress at 3:15 p.m. on Wednesday, December 12. It’s open to the public, so come on in and see us perform! This year’s play is called FrankenMumming: An Arctic Monster Library Modernization Mumming. It features innovators-in-residence […]