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Here in the U.S., April Fools’ Day is a great time to tape the faucet trigger down on the sink or pull another small prank on a friend or family member.
Are we the only culture that celebrates this harmless tradition, though, or are there other forms of “April Fools’ Day” around the world? The answer to that last question is “yes!” Here’s what you need to know about what April Fools’ Day looks like in other countries around the world:
According to many experts, April Fools’ Day actually originated in Germany. According to lore, a man named Gabriel Hoffmann lived in Darmstadt during the 1860s.
During his time there, Hoffmann arranged a fake, prank meeting for lawmakers on April 1st. The prank went down in history and April Fools’ Day was born.
Today, Germans celebrate April Fools’ Day by playing pranks until noon, at which point it is considered bad luck to continue pranking your neighbors.
The French celebrate April Fools’ Day in a fashion that’s quite different from the rest of the world.
Marked by hoaxes and practical jokes, French hoaxsters celebrate the holiday by sticking paper fish onto the backs of unsuspecting passers-by. People who become victims of the prank are called the “Poisson d’Avril” (the April Fish).
While scholars argue over the meaning of the fish, most agree that it has some relation to the zodiac sign Pisces (a fish), which falls near April.
In Scotland, people call April Fools’ Day “Hunt-the-Gowk Day.” Gowk means a foolish person. Unlike many other places in the world, Scotland celebrates April Fools’ Day over two days — April 1 and April 2.
As is true in Germany, people only play pranks until midday. A common tradition is to tape paper tails to people’s backs.
In Portugal, residents celebrate April Fools’ Day the Sunday and Monday before Lent. Why two days, you say? The day is traditionally spent doing pranks and throwing flour on each other, and there’s just not enough time for that in one day!
India celebrates its version of April Fools’ Day on March 31. The celebration is called Holi and is a day to play jokes, throw colored powder on people and wear brightly-colored face and body paint to welcome spring.
Brazil takes great joy in April Fools’ Day. The day is called dia das mentiras, or “the day of lies.” In the country, it is a day for brincadeiras, or pranks.
Iranians celebrate April Fools’ Day on the 13th Day of the Persian New Year, or the 1st or 2nd of April. Like other cultures, Iranians play pranks on one another, but with the one caveat; they’re sure to apologize by the end of the day.
Here’s hoping your pranks are successful this year wherever you’re celebrating! What’s the best April Fools’ joke you’ve ever played? Let us know in the comments.
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