April Fools 2009 is rapidly approaching, and April Fools Day celebrations will be occurring all around the world. But not all April Fools Day celebrations will be the same; April Fools Day in one country is often quite different than in another.
April Fools Day in the United States is usually a day of trickery, pranks and outrageous stunts. The media becomes involved, running bogus news stories or promoting false products. The April Fools Day celebrations can occur any time of the day and can be as simple or complex as the tricker wishes. The victim of the prank is supposed to maintain good humor about it, and traditionally he or she will attract bad luck by getting upset about the prank.
April Fools Day in France is traditionally called Poisson d’Avril, which translates to “April Fish.” The term refers to the fish that are recently hatched and therefore naïve and easy to catch. The traditional April Fish prank in France is to tape a fish to someone’s back, and call them a Poisson d’Avril when they discover it. Originally, the fish was a real dead fish, but nowadays it is most often a paper fish. April Fish is also a common prank on April Fools Day in Italy, called Pesce d’Aprile in Italian. April Fish trickery can last all day, and may include other kinds of tricks.
April Fool’s Day in Canada is similar to April Fool’s Day in the United States, and also incorporates the tradition of Poisson d’Avril from French April Fools Day celebrations. On Canadian tradition comes from investigator James Randi, who annually announces a tongue-in-cheek award called the Pigasus Award on April Fools Day. These “awards” seek to expose paranormal or psychic frauds or to ridicule institutions that promote paranormal claims. Past Pigasus awards have been given to the Kansas school board, John Edwards and Nostradamus. New “winners” will be announced on April Fools 2009.
In Scotland, April Fools Day celebrations last for two days. April Fools Day in Scotland is sometimes called Taily Day or April Gowk. The traditional prank for the first day is to send people on a fool’s errand. You give someone an urgent note that they are supposed to deliver, but the note informs the receiver that it is an April Gowk joke, and they send the person to yet another person, who sends them somewhere else…etc. On the second day, the traditional prank is to stick an April Gowk sign on someone’s backside, similar to a “Kick Me” sign. April Gowk pranks are usually only played in the morning, and if someone tries one after noon, they are considered the fool instead.
April Fools Day in Poland is called Pryma Aprylis. In addition to being a day of pranks, April Fools Day celebrations often involve dressing up in costumes. April Fools Day in Poland is largely a holiday for children, but adults also get in on the fun. In recent years, Polish media has also taken part in the April Fools Day celebrations.
There are a few countries that have April Fools Day celebrations on days other than April 1st. In Denmark, for example, April Fools Day celebrations are held on May 1st and the day is called Maj-kat, or May-cat. Hispanic countries such as Spain and Mexico observe the Feast of the Innocents on December 28th by pranking and tricking people just as in April Fools Day celebrations. Victims of pranks are not allowed to be upset, because the pranksters are representing the innocents. Yet another prank day similar to April Fools Day celebrations occurs in Iran near the beginning of April, called Sizdah Bedar.
The origins of April Fools Day are obscure and undoubtedly riddled with half-truths and tricks, but April Fools Day is observed all around the world in different unique ways. Maybe for April Fools 2009 you can borrow some ideas from April Fools Day in other countries.
David Johnson and Shmuel Ross, http://www.infoplease.com/spot/aprilfools1.html Infoplease.
http://www.thefoolsday.com/similar-festivals-around-the-world.html April Fools Day.
Jerry Wilson, http://wilstar.com/holidays/aprilfool.htm Wilstar.
http://traditionsacrosseurope.wordpress.com/2008/04/04/%E2%80%98pryma-aprylis%E2%80%99-in-poland/ Traditions Across Europe.
http://traditionsacrosseurope.wordpress.com/2008/04/05/about-april-fools-day-origin-in-italy/ Traditions Across Europe.