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Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Happy April 1st – April Fool’s Day!

Wow, I can't believe it’s April already?  This year is passing by so fast!  We are now in the 2nd quarter of the year!  April has always been one of my favorite months.  But I'm totally bias.  April is my birthday month.  Yep, I take the whole month and celebrate as often as I can.  I love birthdays; regardless if it’s my birthday or a friend’s birthday.  Okay yes, I like my birthday more lol.  But still I love celebrating the special day.  I hope I still feel like that when I get older.  So this year I will be 27!  Ouch!  Yes, this is also the year of my 10-year high school anniversary.  But that’s a whole other post for another time.  Anywho, back to the topic.  April 1st as we all know is also known as April Fool’s Day or All Fool’s Day is a day when clever and practical scheming is not just accepted, it’s encouraged.

Although the origin of April Fool’s is uncertain, some see it as a celebration related to the turn of the seasons, while others believe it stems from the adoption of a new calendar.  According to International Business Times (http://www.ibtimes.com/april-fools-day-2015-facts-trivia-myths-history-why-we-celebrate-international-day-1864126) the most popular theories about how April Fool’s Day came about are:

April Fools’ Day began in the year 1582, according to one legend, when Pope Gregory XIII (after whom the Gregorian calendar is named) moved the start of the new year from the end of March to the beginning of January. The change was made public, but not everyone got the memo, and those who didn’t and thus continued to celebrate New Year's Day on April 1 were laughed at. “Because they were seen as foolish, [they were] called April Fools,” medieval historian Ginger Smoak has explained, according to the Huffington Post.

Another myth is based on the same idea but suggests the change in the New Year happened at a slightly different time and place. It attributes the calendar change to France in 1564 -- rather than to the pope -- and when people celebrated the wrong New Year, others would paste paper fish on their backs, which explains why in France, the day is known as April Fish.

Others insist that April Fools’ Day is a joyous remnant of the age when people used to hold spring festivals marking the end of winter with “ritualized forms of mayhem and misrule” and when “people play pranks on friends and strangers,” according to the Museum of Hoaxes. Written references to the holiday go as far back as the 1500s, and detailed references begin to crop up in the 1700s, according to the museum, although by then the idea of pranks and all-around silliness on April 1 was well established.

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.

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.  I actually remember doing this in my French class in high school.

According to Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/April_Fools'_Day) some of the longstanding customs throughout the world include:

In the UK, an April fool joke is revealed by shouting "April fool!" at the recipient, who becomes the "April fool". A study in the 1950s, by folklorists Iona and Peter Opie, found that in the UK, and in countries whose traditions derived from the UK, the joking ceased at midday.  A person playing a joke after midday is the "April fool" themselves.

An April Fool's Day prank of a purported new design for three level city bus, from an April 1926 issue of the company newspaper Echo Continental, published by the Continental Rubber Works Hannover AG Company.

In Scotland, April Fools' Day was traditionally called 'Huntigowk Day', although this name has fallen into disuse. The name is a corruption of 'Hunt the Gowk', "gowk" being Scots for a cuckoo or a foolish person; alternate terms in Gaelic would be Là na Gocaireachd 'gowking day' or Là Ruith na Cuthaige 'the day of running the cuckoo'. The traditional prank is to ask someone to deliver a sealed message that supposedly requests help of some sort. In fact, the message reads "Dinna laugh, dinna smile. Hunt the gowk another mile." The recipient, upon reading it, will explain he can only help if he first contacts another person, and sends the victim to this next person with an identical message, with the same result.

In Ireland it was traditional to entrust the victim with an "important letter" to be given to a named person. That person would then ask the victim to take it to someone else, and so on. The letter when finally opened contained the words "send the fool further".

In Poland, prima aprilis ("1 April" in Latin) is a day full of jokes; various hoaxes are prepared by people, media (which sometimes cooperate to make the "information" more credible) and even public institutions. Serious activities are usually avoided. This conviction is so strong that the anti-Turkish alliance with Leopold I signed on 1 April 1683, was backdated to 31 March.

Norwegians, Danes and Swedes celebrate April Fools' Day (aprilsnar in Danish). Most news media outlets will publish exactly one false story on 1 April; for newspapers this will typically be a first-page article but not the top headline.

An "April Fool's Day" hoax marking the construction of the Copenhagen Metro in 2001.

Although April Fool’s Day is often a controversial holiday, I believe the day should be celebrated.  Unfortunately, I think some people take it too far and it ruins the point of the day.  April Fool’s Day should be a fun, happy, silly, creative, exciting day.  I love hearing April Fool’s Day jokes and hearing about tricks that people played or had played on them.  It’s important to have a sense of humor and it’s healthy to laugh and have a moment of silliness.  We all get so caught up in our lives, we often forget to stop, smile, laugh, and enjoy the moment.  I think Mark Twain gave us the best perspective of April Fools’ Day: ”The first of April is the day we remember what we are the other 364 days of the year.”

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