By Lisa J Smith
On April 1st, how many of us have listened to stories, read an article in the paper or received an email from friends, family or co-workers that was immediately followed by the loud yell of "April Fools!"?
April 1st is the US National holiday for tricks, pranks and other practical jokes. The commonly accepted origin of April Fool's Day or All Fool's Day, involves changes in the calendar. At one time, the New Year celebration began on March 25 and ended on April 1. However, in 1582, King Charles IX accepted the beginning of the New Year as January 1. Those who refused to acknowledge the new date or simply forgot, received foolish gifts and invitations to nonexistent parties. It has evolved into a day of light-hearted trickery and has produced some elaborate and well-known hoaxes.
The United State is not the only country to participate in a national prank day. Several others around the world also play host to a day similar to ours.
• In Iran, people play jokes on each other on April 3, the 13th day of the Persian calendar. It is believed that people should go out on this date in order to escape the bad luck of number 13.
• On April 1st, the French play a game called "April's Fish" and attempt to attach a paper fish to the victims' back's without being noticed. This is also widespread in other nations, such as Italy where "April's Fish" is also used to refer to any other jokes done during the day
• In Belgium, the tradition is for children to lock their parents or teachers out of the house or school, only letting them in if they promise to bring treats the same evening or the next day.
• In some countries, including the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand, on April 1st, if somebody pulls an April Fools' Trick after midday, then the person pulling the trick is actually considered the fool.
So, this year, if you can't quite create a believable hoax, prank or joke yourself, you can try taking an idea from some of the countries above. You'll not only getting the benefit of yelling "April Fool's!" to your unsuspecting victim, but you'll also be teaching a little about some different customs as well; and that's no joke!
Lisa Smith has a BA in psychology, & is the Owner of Regionz Kidz http://www.regionzkidz.com/ a multi-cultural infant and toddler clothing line with ethnically diverse characters and designs. She publishes a blog on the Regionz Kidz website that features articles about cultural diversity and children & she is a guest blogger on several other websites and blogs relating to parenting and children's issues. She is also a monthly contributor to Educated Mommy Magazine. You can contact Lisa directly at: firstname.lastname@example.org