Tuesday, March 27, 2012

April Fools' Day

It is said that when people pull pranks on one another it is just another way of saying that they care. Try telling that to someone on April Fool's Day after they have just been embarrassed in front of a room full of people.

Sometimes referred to "All Fools' Day," April 1st is one of the most light-hearted days of the year. While its origins are uncertain, there are some theories and traditions associated with April Fool’s Day. Some see it as a celebration related to the turn of the seasons, while others believe it stems off of the adoption of a new calendar.

Folk stories describe April Fool’s Day as a day people are sent on impossible tasks in which most were done in spring and revolve around love. Even the most reasonable people go crazy and behave in a silly manor when they fall in love, thus April Fool’s Day is often associated with romantic craziness and fooling around. The custom of shouting “April Fools” after a prank was pulled was only brought to the United States by English settlers in the early 1600’s.

April Fools' Day activities span the Western world and 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.

  • In France they call April 1st Poisson d'Avril, or "April Fish." French children attempt to tape a picture of a fish on the back of their schoolmates, yelling "Poisson d'Avril" when the prank is finally discovered. It is said that in France April has the best fishing which is where it might have started but no one is sure. Chocolate fish are even sold in candy stores for the April Fools’ Day occasion.
  • In England they refer to April 1st as "All Fools Day," but while all the names differ, they originated from the “Feast of Fools” which was a popular medieval festival. During the festival, social roles were reversed and rules were deliberately broken.
  • In Mexico and Spain, April Fool’s Day is actually on December 28th and called the Day of the Holy Innocents.

While April Fool's Day is supposed to consist of light-hearted pranks and jokes, sometimes people take the prank so far that some people have developed a fear of the day. Aphrilophobia is the fear of April Fool’s Day. Many of the fears are associated with social phobias because they pertain to being embarrassed in public. So don't be an April Fool! While April 1st is the perfect excuse to catch your friends, family and teachers off guard, make sure it is all in good fun and that no one gets hurt!

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