From paper fish to flour throwing to channeling good luck, Musement takes a look April Fools’ Day traditions in ten different countries.
April Fools’ Day – you either love it or you hate it–there is no middle ground. Some enjoy a good gag while others don’t want to be bothered. Regardless, there’s no escaping the holiday. Here’s a look at ten April Fools’ Day traditions around the world.
1. United States
Playing jokes is incredibly popular, though some institutions take it to another level and you might see silly news reports designed to dupe the audience. Some pranks are even outlandish enough to make local or national news.
The Italians refer to the holiday as Pesce d’Aprile (April Fish), and jokesters tape paper fishes onto the backs of others. However, they’re not opposed to playing out a well-plotted prank.
In the same vein as the Italians, the French refer to the day as Le Poisson d’Avril (again, April Fish) and stick paper fish onto the backs of their unsuspecting victims.
April Fools’ Day festivities here last two days! The Scottish word for “fool” is gowk, and the Scots usually celebrate Hunt the Gowk Day and Tailey Day. The first day, a gowk would be sent on a fool’s errand while day two entails taping tails to people’s backs.
So, the Portuguese don’t celebrate April Fools’ Day on the first of April. Instead, they partake in their spin on the holiday the Sunday and Monday before Lent by throwing flour onto unsuspecting passers-by. So, watch you’re back if you’re visiting Portugal during that time.
Protos Aprilis, or First April, is of course comprised of practical jokes, but there’s a bit of a superstitious component to it as well: pulling off the prank is considered good luck and successful pranksters have a prosperous year ahead of them.
The Brits partake in requisite April Fools’ Day pranks, however, all jokes must be carried out before noon so everyone can get on with their day. Those who try to pull a fast one during the afternoon will learn the hard way that the joke is on them, as everyone will brand this trickster a fool.
While Brazilians take to harmless hoaxes on April Fools’ Day, they refer to the holiday as o dia das mentiras or the “day of lies”.
In Iran, the 13th day of the Persian New Year always falls on April 1 or 2, and this day is referred to as Sidzah-Bedar, or Nature Day, the final day of the new year festivities characterized by picnicking with loved ones. It is customary for Iranians to trick a friend with the occasional fib, keeping with the holiday’s ancient tradition of Dorogh Sizdah or “the lie of Thirteen”.
So, India doesn’t celebrate April Fool’s Day, however, locals play practical jokes on loved ones during the March Holi festivities.