April Fools April Fools' Day: Interesting Celebration Around the World
April Fools April Fools' Day: Date, History and Celebration
April Fools' Day. Photo: 92.1 The Wolf
April Fools' Day. Photo: 92.1 The Wolf

History of April Fools' Day

No one is quite sure how the tradition of April Fools' Day began.

The beginning of the New Year was traditionally observed around April 1 and also close to the Vernal Equinox. When France adopted the Gregorian calendar in the 1500s, that date was changed to January 1. Some people contend that those who were unaware of the change continued to celebrate in April and were labeled fools, giving rise to April Fools' Day.

However, not everyone accepts the calendar hypothesis. Some claim that the celebration evolved from springtime festivals when people shrouded their identities.

Pranks used to have to be finished in the morning in most English-speaking nations. Later in the day, pranks were discouraged, but that tradition appears to have vanished, and April 1 is now seen as a day when jokes are acceptable.

How is April Fools’ Day Celebrated Across the World?

  • In France, Italy and other European countries, a drawing of a fish is stuck to your back.

  • The French say, “Poisson d’avril !” (April Fish!)

  • In Sweden, you’d be called a herring.

  • Following this theme, a chocolate fish is given as a gift in some countries.

  • In Scotland, April Fools' Day lasts for two days. During the first day, people play jokes and pranks and you’d be called April gowk (April cuckoo). A cuckoo is traditionally a symbol of a fool.

  • On the second day of the festival, Scots play jokes based around the buttocks. This day is known as Taily Day.

  • In Ireland, you’re allowed to play jokes up until noon. It’s not the done thing to carry on after that time.

  • April Fools’ Day is known in Brazil as the Day of the Lie because of the widespread hoaxes and pranks.

  • In Greece, the jokes on April Fools’ Day are strongly connected with good fortune. If your joke’s successful, it’s supposed to bring you good luck that year.

  • In Spain and Latin America, the day of pranks and jokes is celebrated on December 28th. It’s called Holy Innocents’ Day.

April Fool's Pranks

Photo: Maps of India
Photo: Maps of India

Many nations celebrate April 1 as a day for practical jokes. The most basic practical jokes may involve kids pretending that their shoelaces are undone and then shouting "April Fool!" when the targets look down at their feet. The following are a few examples of media-publicized April 1st jokes:

The British supermarket chain Tesco advertised a genetically altered "whistling carrot" in The Sun in 2002. The carrots were designed to grow with tapered air holes in their side, according to the advertisement. The carrot would whistle when these holes were fully cooked.

There was only one black-and-white television channel in Sweden at the beginning of the 1960s. On April 1st, the news reported that viewers could upgrade their existing sets to display color reception by draping a nylon stocking over their screen.

Many American newspapers, including The New York Times, published a picture of a man flying through the air in 1934. The man was supported by a machine that was only powered by his lungs. Associated articles enthusiastically described this amazing new invention.

Top 9 Funny Facts About April Fools' Day

The Scottish love April Fools' Day

They cherish it so much that they observe two days of celebration. The cuckoo is referred to as "hunting the gowk" (in Scotland), and if you fall for a trick, you are a "April gowk." The second day, "Taily Day," is dedicated to practical jokes that involve the back of the body in order to really get "behind" the holiday. These jokes' "butt" frequently has a "kick me" sign taped to their back.

Books, films, telemovies and television episodes have used April Fool’s Day as their title or inspiration.

Examples include Bryce Courtenay’ novel April Fools' Day (1993), whose title refers to the day Courtenay’s son died. For further examples, see April Fool’s Day (disambiguation) and the IMDb’s listing of April Fool’s Day films.

Mark Twain appeared to be a big fan of "fools"

Some of his pinings on fools include: "It's better to keep your mouth shut and be thought a fool than to open it and leave no doubt" and "Let us be thankful for the fools. But for them the rest of us could not succeed" and "The first of April is the day we remember what we are the other 364 days of the year."

April Fool is known as April Fish in some country

The 1 April tradition is frequently referred to as "April fish" (poissons d'avril in French or pesce d'aprile in Italian). These countries include Italy, France, Belgium, and French-speaking regions of Switzerland and Canada. This includes making a covert attempt to fasten a paper fish to the victim's back. Many French April Fools' Day postcards from the late 19th to the early 20th centuries prominently feature fish like these.

Forget anything serious

Photo: Zoom TV
Photo: Zoom TV

In Poland, everyone takes part in April Fools' Day activities, including the media and sometimes public institutions. All serious activities are completely avoided for the day. A favorite joke? Pouring water on people.

In Scotland, April Fools’ Day was traditionally called ‘Huntigowk Day’, although this name has fallen into disuse.

The name is a corruption of "Hunt the Gowk," where "gowk" is Gaelic for "gowking day" or "the day of running the cuckoo." In Scots, "gowk" refers to a cuckoo or a foolish person. Asking someone to deliver a sealed message purportedly asking for assistance of some kind is the classic practical joke. The message actually says, "Dinna laugh, dinna smile. Continue your pursuit of the fool. After reading it, the recipient will explain that the only way he can help is by first getting in touch with someone else. He will then send the victim to this additional person with the same message, with the same outcome.

Wish we grew up in Belgium!

In certain areas of Belgium, children lock out their parents or teachers and only let them in if they promise to give them sweets.

"Important letter"

In Ireland, it was traditional to entrust the victim with an “important letter” to be given to a named person. That person would then ask the victim to take it to someone else, and so on. The letter when finally opened contained the words “send the fool further”.

The origin of April 1

In most European cities during the Middle Ages, New Year's Day was observed on March 25. New Year's was observed in some regions of France as a weeklong holiday that ended on 1 April. According to some authors, April Fools' Day got its start when people who celebrated on January 1 made fun of people who celebrated on other days. By the middle of the 16th century, it was customary in France to celebrate New Year's Day on January 1; the Edict of Roussillon made this date official in 1564.

Mark Twain said, "The first of April is the day we remember what we are the other 364 days of the year." Jokes and pranks abound on April 1, April Fools' Day.
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