Although April Fools’ day is not an official holiday, that doesn’t stop it from being celebrated all over the world. Here in America, it is a day for pulling pranks, both elaborate and simple, on friends and enemies, but other parts of the world have twists on the tradition.
In other countries, according to april-fools.us, the April Fools’ Day takes on different twists and traditions.
In Scotland, April Fools’ Day is known as Taily Day and it is dedicated to “spoofs involving the buttocks.”
In some places, like England, New Zealand, Australia and South Africa, it is considered bad luck to play pranks after noon, so all the jokes are pulled early in the day. Some newspapers in these places even have a morning “joke” edition and a serious edition that comes out in the afternoon.
In France, Italy and French Canada, along with other pranks, it is tradition to try to affix a paper fish to people without them noticing, making them “April fish.” The term also refers to the recipient of other pranks played on that day.
So where did these silly traditions come from?
While it is uncertain, they may have originated around 1582 when the Gregorian calendar was introduced and the start of the new year was moved from the week of March 25th-April 1st to January 1st.
Some people who were reluctant to follow the new calendar and were thought “foolish” by the rest of society. They often had practical jokes played on them, such as being sent on silly or impossible errands or being invited to fake parties.
People who fell for these tricks were labeled “poisson d’avril” or “April fish” because a “young, naïve fish is easily caught” which is where the tradition of the attaching a paper fish is thought to have come from.
People around carry on the tradition of elaborate pranks and silly jokes on the unwary today- so watch your back, or you might find yourself an unwitting April fish!