|April Fool's Day is traditionally a day to play practical jokes
on others, send people on fool's errands, and fool the unsuspecting. No
one knows how this holiday began but it was thought to have originated in
The closest point in time that can be identified as the beginning of
this tradition was in 1582, in France. New Year's was celebrated on March
25 and celebrations lasted until April 1st. When New Year's Day as changed
from March 25 to January 1st in the mid-1560's by King Charles IX, there
were some people who still celebrated it on April 1st and those people
were called April Fools.
Pranks performed on April Fool's Day range from the simple, (such as
saying, "Your shoe's untied!), to the elaborate. Setting a roommate's
alarm clock back an hour is a common gag. The news media even gets
involved. For instance, a British short film once shown on April Fool's
Day was a fairly detailed documentary about "spaghetti farmers" and how
they harvest their crop from the spaghetti trees. Whatever the prank, the
trickster usually ends it by yelling to his victim, "April Fool!"
April Fool's Day is a "for-fun-only" observance. Nobody is expected to
buy gifts or to take their "significant other" out to eat in a fancy
restaurant. Nobody gets off work or school. It's simply a fun little
holiday, but a holiday on which one must remain forever vigilant, for he
may be the next April Fool!
Each country celebrates April Fool's differently. In
France, the April Fool's is called "April Fish" (Poisson d'Avril). The
French fool their friends by taping a paper fish to their friends' backs
and when some discovers a this trick, they yell "Poisson d'Avril!".
In England, tricks can be played only in the morning. If a trick is
played on you, you are a "noodle". In Scotland, April Fools Day is 48
hours long and you are called an "April Gowk", which is another name for a
cuckoo bird. The second day in Scotland's April Fool's is called Taily Day
and is dedicated to pranks involving the buttocks. Taily Day's gift to
posterior posterity is the still-hilarious "Kick Me" sign.