April Fool’s Day which is celebrated on April 1st each year has been around for centuries. While the origin is a mystery, there are a few theories about how this tradition started. In many countries, this is a day for hoaxes and practical jokes.
How it started
First theory: April Fools Day began after Europe switched from the old Julian calendar to the modern Gregorian calendar. Prior to the switch, most of Europe celebrated the beginning of a New Year on April 1st but it was moved to January 1st. As for those who had difficulty adapting to the change, they were labelled as ‘fools’.
Second theory: April Fool’s Day could have been derived from the Persian holiday of Sizdahbedar. This falls on April 1st, and it involves pranks and has been celebrated since at least 536 BC.
Either way, everyone loves a good practical joke. Here are a few of the pranks typical of April Fools’ Day around the world.
In Brazil, this day is known as the “dia da mentira” or “day of the lie”. Just like in other countries, news outlets will publish ridiculous headlines with false claims. Also, many individuals will tell white lies to each other to prank their friends.
In France, this day is known as “Poisson d’Avril” or “April fish”. Throughout France, both children and adults will go around sneakily trying to stick a paper fish to someone’s back. When the person discovers that they have been a victim of this attack the prankster will yell out “Poisson d’Avril!”.
In Greece, there are several beliefs about April Fools’ pranks. People believe that a successful joke will have luck for the prankster all year long. In addition, it is believed that the person who plays the trick, will have good crops. Also, if it rains on this day in Greece, the water is believed to have healing powers.
In India, April fool’s day is mostly celebrated by the younger generation. April fools day is mostly a tradition they have that is western influenced. On this day, children love yelling out “April fool!” after hoaxing someone. These hoaxes or pranks are usually very simple such as making fake calls to friends.
In the United Kingdom, April Fool’s Day will only take place for half of the day. The pranks and jokes that are done are deemed acceptable only until noon — otherwise, the jokester is considered the fool. So, if anyone wants to join in on the fun they should start early.
In the Nordic countries (Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Iceland, and Finland) on April 1st, the morning newspapers usually play pranks. Also, the front page of most newspapers might contain at least one story that is completely made-up. Then, it’s up to the readers to figure out which one is false.
Apparently in Denmark and Sweden, one day a year is not enough to play pranks on your friends. So, they celebrate a similar day on the very last day of April or the first day of May. This is to mark the end of the month when the weather often plays tricks on everyone by pretending that spring has arrived. And soon or later it ends up retreating.
Thanks for reading about how other countries celebrate April Fool’s Day.
Do you have anything that is similar in your country?
Do you like being pranked? Or are you the prankster?
Just remember, today is probably the only day you get away with white lies. So enjoyed pranking and being pranked.
Have a nice day and, Happy April Fool’s Day!
Szewczyk, K. (2006). April Fool’s Day. Teaching English with Technology, 6(4).