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April Fool's Day


CofCC.org News Team…

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The origins of this custom are complex and a matter of much debate. It is likely a relic of the once common festivities held on the vernal equinox, which began on the 25th of March, old New Year’s Day, and ended on the 2nd of April. Europe may have derived its April-fooling from the French. French and Dutch references from 1508 and 1539 respectively describe April Fools’ Day jokes and the custom of making them on the first of April.

April Fools’ Day is observed throughout the Western world. Practices include sending someone on a “fool’s errand,” looking for things that don’t exist; playing pranks; and trying to get people to believe ridiculous things. Other pranks include putting salt in the sugar bowl for the next person but is not a nice trick to play on a stranger. College students set their clocks an hour behind, so their roommates show up to the wrong class – or not at all. Most April Fool jokes are in good fun and not meant to harm anyone.

The French call April 1 Poisson d’Avril, or “April Fish.” French children sometimes tape a picture of a fish on the back of their schoolmates, crying “Poisson d’Avril” when the prank is discovered.

In England, jokes are played only in the morning. Fools are called ‘gobs’ or ‘gobby’ and the victim of a joke is called a ‘noodle.’ It was considered back luck to play a practical joke on someone after noon.

In Scotland, for instance, April Fool’s Day is devoted to spoofs involving the buttocks and as such is called Taily Day. The butts of these jokes are known as April ‘Gowk’, another name for cuckoo bird. The origins of the “Kick Me” sign can be traced back to the Scottish observance.

In Rome, the holiday is known as Festival of Hilaria, celebrating the resurrection of the god Attis, which is on March 25 and is also referred to as “Roman Laughing Day.”

In Portugal, April Fool’s Day falls on the Sunday and Monday before lent. In this celebration, many people throw flour at their friends.

In Poland, the day is full of jokes and hoaxes – any serious activities are avoided. This conviction is so strong that the anti-Turkish alliance with Leopold I signed on April 1, 1683, was backdated to March 31.

In America people play small tricks on friends and strangers alike on the first of April. One common trick on April Fool’s Day, or All Fool’s Day, is pointing down to a friend’s shoe and saying, “Your shoelace is untied.” Teachers in the nineteenth century used to say to pupils, “Look! A flock of geese!” and point up. School children might tell a classmate that school has been canceled. Whatever the trick, if the innocent victim falls for the joke the prankster yells, “April Fool!

In the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, and New Zealand, the April 1 tradition requires jokes to be played before midday: if somebody pulls an April Fools’ Trick after midday, then the person pulling the trick is actually considered the fool. The following rhyme may be chanted:aprilfool.gif

April Fool’s has come and gone.
Who’s the fool that carried on?