Friday, April 1, 2011


   April Fool's Day is rapidly approaching, and April Fool's celebrations will be occurring all around the world.  But not all April Fool's Day celebrations will be the same; April Fool's Day in one country is often quite different than in another.
  • April Fool's Day in the U.S. is usually a day of trickery, pranks and outrageous stunts.  The media becomes involved, running bogus news stories or promoting false products.  The April Fool's Day celebrations can occur any time of the day and can be as simple or complex as the trickster wishes.  The victim of the prank is supposed to maintain good humor about it, and traditionally he or she will attract bad luck by getting upset about he prank.
  • April Fool's Day in France is traditionally call Poisson d'Avril, which translates to "April Fish".  The term refers to the fish that are recently hatches and therefore naive and easy to catch.  The traditional April Fish prank in France is to tape a fish to someones back, and call them a Poisson d'Avril when they discover it.  Originally, the fish was a real dead fish, but nowadays it is most often a paper fish.  April Fish is also a common prank on April Fool's Day in Italy, called Pesce d'Aprile in Italian, April Fish trickery can last all day, and may include other kinds of tricks.
  • April Fool's Day in Canada is similar to April Fool's Day in the U.S., and also incorporates the tradition of Poisson d'Avril from French April Fool's Day celebrations.  On Canadian tradition comes from investigator James Randi, who annually announces a tongue in cheek award called the Pigasus Award on April Fool's Day.  These "awards" seek to expose paranormal or psychic frauds or to ridicules institutions that promote paranormal claims.  Past Pigasus awards have been given to the Kansas school board, John Edwards and Nostradamus.  New "winners" will be announced on April Fool's Day.
  • In Scotland, April Fool's Day celebrations last for two days.  April Fool's Day in Scotland is sometimes called "Tally Day" or "April Gowk".  The traditional prank for the first day is to send people on a fools errand.  You give someone an urgent note that they are supposed to deliver, but the note informs the receiver that it is an April Gowk joke, and they send the person to yet another person, who sends them somewhere else...etc.  On the second day, the traditional prank is to stick an April Gowk sign on someones backside, similar to a "Kick Me" sign.  April Gowk pranks are usually only played in the morning, and if someone tries one after noon, they are considered the fool instead.
  • April Fool's Day in Poland is called "Prymas Aprylis".  In addition to being a day of pranks, April Fool's Day celebrations often involve dressing up in costumes.  April Fool's Day in Poland is largely a holiday for children, but adults also get in on the fun.  In recent years, Polish media has also taken part in the April Fool's Day celebrations.
  • There are a few countries that have April Fool's Day celebrations on days other than April 1st.  In Denmark, for example, April Fool's Day celebration are held on May 1st, and the day is called Maj-kat, or May-cat.  Hispanic countries such as Spain and Mexico observe the Feast of the Innocents of December 28th by pranking and tricking people just as in April Fool's Day celebrations.  Victims of pranks are not allowed to be upset, because the pranksters are representing the innocents.  Yet another prank day similar to April Fool's Day celebrations occurs in Iran near the beginning of April, called "Sizdah Bedar".