Sunday, April 01, 2007

Effective April 1, I'm muting my mic for good

Psych! That'll be the day. [NOTE TO MY SURVIVORS: Bury or cremate my mic with my remains.]

In case you haven't been punk'd, prank'd or fooled yet by anyone else, then you might be unaware that today is April 1, when people in the U.S.A. and many European countries celebrate "April Fool's Day" or "All Fools' Day" ("Aprilsnar" in Danish).

According to'_Day:
April Fool's Day or All Fools' Day, though not a holiday in its own right, is a notable day celebrated in many countries on April 1. The day is marked by the commission of hoaxes and other practical jokes of varying sophistication, the aim of which is to embarrass the gullible.
All Fools' Day traditions can vary across cultures and locales. Yahoo! Buzz Log lists the most popular pranks, jokes and April Fool's-related searches in "Jokes and Pranks, Oh My!" (by Erik Gunther). In Europe, as Wikipedia further explains:
The April 1 tradition in France includes poisson d'avril (literally "April's fish"), attempting to attach a paper fish to the victim's back without being noticed. This is also widespread in other nations, such as Italy (where the term pesce d'aprile (literally "April's fish") is also used to refer to any jokes done during the day).
In some countries, including the United Kingdom, Canada (except Quebec), Australia and New Zealand, the April 1 tradition requires jokes to be played before midday: if somebody pulls an April Fools' Trick after midday, then the person pulling the trick is actually considered the fool. *
I don't think media organizations read that memo. Some broadcasters and publishers have have executed such fantastic April Fool's Day hoaxes (at various times of day) that wary citizens have become suspicious of even real news on the first day of the fourth month. Some outstanding examples are accessible at Wikipedia's compilation of well-known April Fool's Day hoaxes and at (I've pulled off some doozies too, but will save them for my book.)

"Foolishness" of similar sorts can occur on other days in other nations. For example:

In Spanish-speaking countries, similar pranks are practiced on December 28, the Day of the Holy Innocents. This custom also exists in certain areas of Belgium, including the province of Antwerp. The Flemish tradition is for children to lock out their parents or teachers, only letting them in if they promise to bring treats the same evening or the next day.*

In Iran, people play jokes on each other on April 3, the 13th day of the Persian calendar new year (Norouz). This day is called "Sizdah bedar" (Outdoor thirteen). It is believed that people should go out on this date in order to escape the bad luck of number 13.*

In Denmark the 1st of May is known as "Maj-kat", meaning quite simply "May-cat", and is identical to April Fools' day, though Danes also celebrate April Fools' day ("aprilsnar").*

Some Jewish communities have a traditional event called a "Purim spiel" (a.k.a. "Purimshpil"), which is similar in many ways to April Fools' Day. *

Purim spiel seems similar, to me, to Mardi Gras or Halloween.

It might be a fool's errand, to trace the ambiguous origins of this lighthearted holiday (and its variations), but David Johnson and Shmuel Ross published their attempt in, "April Fool's Day: Origin and History (The uncertain origins of a foolish day)." Other informative and entertaining April Fool's Day resources are accessible at:

*SOURCE:'s_Day ###