We had you going there, didn’t we?
It’s the month of silly pranks, funny lies, and downright shenanigans. So, in honor of April Fool’s Day, we thought we’d discuss how the silly celebrations are carried out around the world.
But first, a little background
April Fool’s Day can be traced back to the 1700s when pranksters in the United States began playing practical jokes on each other. But, even though the day, also known as All Fool’s Day, has been acknowledged for centuries and among different cultures around the globe, where it really originated from is a mystery. Nevertheless, it’s enigmatic origins have not stopped hoaxers from having a little fun on April 1!
Different languages, different cultures, different pranks
Different countries have their own version of April Fool’s Day.
In France, it is known as Poisson d’Avril, and there are many people who believe that the day of jokes began in the country during the 18th century. The day actually coincides with the religious observation of Lent, a time when meat is substituted for fish, so it stands to reason that fish is the main method of pranks. Thankfully, modern French people have swapped out smelly fish for paper varieties that are stuck to unsuspecting “victim’s” backs! The same fishy traditions are upheld in Belgium and Italy. In Italy, the day is known as Pesce d’aprile – April Fish.
In England, pranksters reveal their jokes by declaring, “April fool!” and it is a tradition for the jokes to stop at noon. Those who play a prank after that time become the April fool, gob, noodle, noddy, or gobby. In Scotland, the day used to be known as “Huntigowk Day” which refers to a “gowk,” or Scot, who is a foolish person. In Gaelic, the names are known as La Ruith na Cuthaige or La na Gocaireachd which translate as the day of the running cuckoo. Traditionally, a person would be sent to deliver a sealed message that was a kind of request. But, the message tells the recipient to send the letter on to the next “victim,” and on it would go to keep the “gowk” running around for the day.
In Poland, the day, pirma aprillis, is a day for telling jokes. The media and public alike prepare a host of hoaxes and serious activities are normally avoided at all costs so that people don’t “make a mistake” or come to harm. And, in the Nordic countries of Finland, Denmark, Norway, and Sweden, media outlets do their best to publish “reputable” stories – usually on the first page of a newspaper or online news site.
O dia das mentiras translates to “the day of lies” in Brazil and the holiday became popular thanks to a joke newspaper, A Mentira. The publication would carry out mean-spirited hoaxes that ranged from duping investors out of their hard-earned cash to fake death announcements. That’s not too funny, is it?
If you’re usually the butt of a prank, take heed – the fools of April are upon us!