April Fool’s Day, also called All Fools’ Day, is not a national holiday, but many countries observe it on 1st April.
Its name comes from the custom of playing practical jokes. These include taping paper fishes onto the backs of others or telling friends that their shoelaces are untied. Moreover, in many countries, newspapers and the other media participate with false headlines or news stories.
We don’t know exactly how this foolish holiday began, but it’s the one day of the year that people can be unabashedly silly. In this article, we will explore how different European countries celebrate April Fool’s Day.
The Italians refer to the holiday as “Pesce d’Aprile” (April Fish), and jokesters stick paper fish onto the backs of their unsuspecting victims. So, watch your back if you’re visiting Italy during that time!
The Portuguese don’t celebrate April Fools’ Day on the first of April. Instead, the Sunday and Monday prior to Lent is when the Portuguese celebrate April Fools’ Day. On this day, people throw flour onto unsuspecting passers-by.
“Prima Aprilis, uważaj, bo się pomylisz!” is a phrase frequently spoken on April 1st in Poland. This translates to: “April Fools’ Day, be careful — you can be wrong!” So, this day, you should be wary of any appointment changes or news reports on this day. Unless you want to fall victim to a trickster’s trap.
On April Fools’ Day, people play a prank called an “Aprilscherz” on family members, co-workers, and friends-even solid lies are excused on that day.
Newspapers, TV and radio stations usually have at least one story which is generally harmless, but “out of this world” and completely made up.
In Spain, the day of jokes and prank is celebrated on December 28th as Holy Innocents’ Day. Victims should not be upset because the jokesters are considered to be innocent.
April Fool’s Day in other countries
Similarly to Italy, in France people celebrate this holiday by putting fish images on other people’s backs. “Poisson d’Avril,” or “April fish,” is the name for a person duped on April Fools’ Day. Although this is usually an activity for children, sometimes also adults participate.
April Fools’ Day festivities here last two days! Here the day is called Gowkie Day, for the gowk, or cuckoo, a symbol of the fool.
The first day is celebrated by pranking and hoaxing people, while the second — known as Tailie Day — is when people place tails on each other’s backs.
In Greece, there’s a superstition around pranking people on April 1. In fact, people believe that if you successfully trick someone, you will have good luck for the rest of the year.
Those in farming communities believe that successful tricksters will enjoy a good year of crops, and that the water from rainfall on April 1 has healing abilities.
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. In fact, here’s hoping your pranks are successful and should you be a victim of one, plan ahead for the next year!