April Fools’ Day is one of the strangest holidays out there. The Western world has many holidays, from the religious to the patriotic, but none of these are dedicated to playing pranks on people. While April Fools’ Day is cemented in modern tradition, it actually goes back thousands of years and is celebrated by many cultures.
The concept of April Fools’ Day can be seen in many cultures. The Roman holiday Hilaria celebrated the spring equinox and involved masquerades and impersonations of famous senators.
The Hindu festival Holi also celebrates the coming of spring and involves parades, vibrant colors, and a celebratory bonfire.
Finally, the medieval Feast of Fools is a night where the royalty and the servants were switched, granting power to the weak and putting the powerful in a subordinate position.
There are also many different traditions for April Fools’ as well. In Ireland, it is a tradition to give the victim of the prank a very “important” letter. When the victim delivers the letter to the recipient, the recipient sends them to another person. If all goes well, the victim will be running from person to person all day. When the person finally opens the letter out of frustration, the only words on the page will be “send the fool further.”
In Poland, people take April Fools’ so seriously, they cancel or change the dates of important political meetings so the meeting isn’t treated like a joke.
The media is also known for creating some of the best April Fool’s jokes of all time. In 1957, BBC created a fake news story about harvesting spaghetti. Spaghetti was still considered a foreign delicacy in Britain and not many people knew that it was just noodles. The news broadcast showed Swiss farmers pulling noodles out of the ground and off of trees. The “Farmers” claimed that their harvest was good this year because the “Spaghetti Weevil” hadn’t eaten their crops. Thousands of people called BBC asking how to grow their own plants, BBC responded by saying, “Place a sprig of spaghetti in a tin of tomato sauce and hope for the best.”
April Fools’ Day is meant to celebrate how gullible people can be. Let us rejoice in the beauty of foolishness and remind ourselves that anyone can be a fool.