Category Archives: All Fools’ Day

Easter Triduum, or Your April Book of Days

April has begun. It begins, of course, with All Fools’ Day, April Fools. There is an old Welsh saying: If every fool wore a crown, we should all be kings. The tricks and practical jokes traditionally end at noon, but not everyone understands this and so I think it’s a good day to remain generally wary and on guard. The origins of this day are tough to pin down. There is a Norse god named Loki whose feast day is today, and Loki happens to be a trickster god. So that could be it. But there also is the fact that March 25 was once New Year’s Day, making the First of April the Octave of New Year and the end of the new year revels, and it is thought that perhaps the foolishness of the date goes back to very old new year customs.

Being the First of the month, it’s also time for the April edition of the ongoing Convivio Book of Days calendar. We offer it to you as a printable PDF. The calendar makes a fine companion to this blog. Enjoy it with our compliments.

This year, what begins as All Fools’ Day ends as Holy Thursday, or Maundy Thursday, the night when we are invited to visit churches that will remain unlocked all night long, welcoming portals inviting us to be present with Jesus in his hours of tribulation as Good Friday approaches. Like last year, though, we will remain home, but typically it is a night when we visit three churches, as my grandmother Assunta taught us, though some people visit seven. I love this night, typically. It is such a bridge for me across time and space with the ones I love and the ones I miss, as I sit in the close and holy darkness of these quiet churches, meditating, praying, simply being. The moon is always present as I journey from church to church, a constant companion. This year, perhaps, a simple fire in the back yard may be the most appropriate way to mark the night. The moon will still be present, and where two or three are gathered… well, you know the story. But here ends the Lenten season, and here begins the Easter or Paschal Triduum: Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday: the Last Supper, the Passion, and the Resurrection through the Easter Vigil on Saturday night.

There is much more to read about these closing days of this week known as Holy Week, and you may do so in the previous chapter of this blog. (Just click “Previous Post” when you get to the bottom of this one, or click here.) Cover star for this month’s Convivio Book of Days calendar is a painting called “Easter Morning,” by Caspar David Friedrich, from 1833. The trees have yet to leaf out in this painting, but by the end of this month certainly the rivers will be a’running and the vernal push will be rising through sap from root to bud as trees erupt in new green leaves. And sometimes we need a reminder like this: of how so much wonder can happen over the course of a month.

Image: “Easter Morning” by Caspar David Friedrich, oil on canvas, 1833, [Public domain], via WikiPaintings.

Your April Book of Days

April First brings All Fools Day, April Fools… and your Convivio Book of Days Calendar for April. The tricks and practical jokes today are traditionally supposed to end at noon, but I’d be wary all day long if I were you. I’ll admit here and now: I’ve got nothing up my sleeve this year. Not a thing. But I always love hearing about your April Fools pranks, so please, share them. The comments below are an excellent place to do so.

Our Lenten journey is fast coming to a close and we come this month, in April’s second week, to Holy Week, with all its beautiful mysteries. Maundy Thursday always is one of my favorite nights: a pilgrimage of sorts. There are years when I don’t enter a church all year and there are years where I go more often, but Holy Thursday is the night when I go, typically, to three of them, in the dark and quiet late night hours, to sit there and breathe in the stillness. My grandmother Assunta taught me this, and each year I go and I think of her. This, to me, the core of tradition: to maintain those bridges across time and space. This year, I will think of my father, too. I suspect it will not be an easy night for me, but it will be an important one.

I know my writings have been few and far between lately, and for this I apologize. I’m here with you, I’m just having a hard time lately getting out of my own way. But folks tell me this is to be expected, and while the pain of losing a loved one never goes away, it does, I know, evolve. And so I am evolving. I’ll write to you when I can. Sometime during Holy Week, I am sure. Maybe twice, who knows? And most likely for St. Mark’s Eve on the 24th, and again for May Eve, Walpurgis Night… as the wheel of the year clicks again by one more cog, this time toward summer. There is magic to be had in all of these holy days/holidays … and my wish for me, for you, is that we all tap into that magic. My dad believed in the value of hard work and a job done well. I’ve got a job to do in writing this Book of Days, and I’d best get to it. He wouldn’t put up with me slacking off.

By the way, if you miss us, well… we do a better job of keeping in touch these days via our Instagram feed: @conviviobookworks. More of a picture book!


Fool for a Day


It is the First of April, and it is a very difficult day for people like me, who tend to believe what others say. I’m not very good at lying, and so I rarely bother doing it, and I just assume everyone else is the same way. For those who prey upon the weak, I am quickly labeled: Gullible.

And so it happened that as Seth and I drove once through Baltimore on our way from Florida to Maine, we passed by mountains of white sand that rose in the distance in sight of the highway. But I grew up in Florida. Mountains of any sort are rare here and just not natural. These Baltimore sights were obviously not natural, either, so I asked Seth, “What are those huge piles?” “Why, that’s sugar,” he answered, without blinking an eye. “Ha, you don’t say,” I replied. “Sugar.”

We were probably halfway through New Jersey by the time I had my first doubts about this. What if it rains? What’s to prevent ants from carrying all that sugar away, grain by grain? But of course it wasn’t sugar, it was sand, in preparation for winter’s icy roads. Again, not something we’re accustomed to in Florida. Seth definitely had the upper hand in this game. He still does. To this day, I rarely have the sense to realize I’ve been had. And then today we have a day where this sort of thing is encouraged and even expected, with tricks and practical jokes until noon. So goes the tradition, and yet the entire day is enough to make any naturally unsuspecting person jittery. I, for one, will be wary all day. Perhaps you’d be wise to be wary, as well.


Back in April of 2005, we published a Convivio Book of Days Calendar that was not quite on the line. It featured the photograph above, which we labeled “Easter Eggplant as it is grown in Lake Worth.” “By feeding regular eggplant varieties only colored water,” says the caption, “and by carefully protecting the fruit of the plant from direct sunlight, gardeners are able to grow multi-colored ‘eggs,’ ready for harvest just in time for the height of the Easter season. We grew this blue and pink fruit in our garden this spring.” The calendar goes on to describe days like St. Biscotti’s Day on April 8, Turnip Tuesday on the 12th, and on the 27th, at sunset, Dalmatia, a festival of Ancient Rome. Tradition would have us dress in black-spotted white garments and howl at the moon. Even I don’t believe half of this myself.