Monday, April 1, 2013

April Fool's Day: No Joke

Most people I know enjoy playing a practical joke or two on this day of tom-foolery and trickery. What I didn’t know was that this holiday dates from the 14th century. Had something to do with the Gregorian calendar and the moving of New Years Day from April to January 1.

It’s a holiday celebrated all over the world in such places as Italy, Portugal, England, India, Scotland, Spain, Denmark, Sweden and Mexico among others. It’s a day of pranks and fun and was even traced to Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales in 1392. However, current thinking has it beginning in 1582 in France when the Gregorian Calendar was introduced. Since communication was so slow in those days, a lot of people didn’t find out the news until several years later and some were rebellious and refused to recognize such a change.  These rebels were labeled “fools” by others and were subject to great ridicule.

The tradition evolved and the custom of playing pranks continued on the first day of April. It spread across the continent both East and West. Hence the international flavor of the day, but each country celebrates in its own way.

In England the jokes are played only in the morning. The victim of the joke is called a noodle, and it was considered bad luck to play a practical joke on anyone after the noon hour. That sounds like a good idea to me.

So, no matter where you are today, someone just might play a practical joke on you, so be prepared and have fun.

Leave a comment below and tell me about a practical joke played on you or someone else that was funny and harmless. You just might win a copy of one of my books, your choice if you do. 


Brandi Boddie said...

Interesting history behind the tradition. Thanks for sharing, Martha. I'm on my way to work at a daycare center, so I'm a little nervous about what the kids have planned.

Debby Mayne said...

I'm not a big fan of April Fool's Day jokes because I don't like public humiliation. However, if the person who does the prank directs it toward himself, that might be okay.

Darrel Nelson said...

As a school teacher I used to dread April Fool's Day because of all the silly little pranks my students would do. But now that I'm retired, I look back and think how much the day added to my teaching life and to my memories.