Friday, April 1, 2016

It's April Fools Day! -Postcard Friendship Friday #307

When the dignitaries at large changed the calendar date of New Year’s Day from April 1st to January 1st in the 1700’s, some folks refused to make the change.  These people were labeled "fools.”  People who no longer celebrated New Years on April 1st made fun of those who still did.  

Those who would not acknowledge the change in calendar were called "poisson d'avril," or "April fish" because a young naive fish is easily caught.  As a  joke people would attach a paper fish to a person’s back without their knowing it.  They were sent on “fool” errands.  They were even sent invitations to parties which never materialized as well as other not so nice practical jokes. 

Eventually playing pranks on everyone April 1st became the custom. The tradition spread to Britain and Scotland in the 18th century and was introduced to the American colonies by the English and the French. Since those days, April Fool's Day is celebrated everywhere, with each country commemorating the holiday in its own way.

In Scotland, April Fool's Day is devoted to spoofs involving one’s, er, behind and is called Taily Day.  These jokes are known as April 'Gowk' which is a cuckoo bird. It is a fact that the origins of the "Kick Me" sign can be traced back to the Scottish observance.

In England, jokes are played only in the morning. Fools are called 'gobs' or 'gobby' and the victim of a joke is called a 'noodle.'  It was considered back luck to play a practical joke on someone after noon.

In America, pranks are played all day--a favorite from my childhood would be to ask someone if their shoe was untied.  When the person would look to see--we'd say, "Made ya look!"  

In Rome, the holiday is known as Festival of Hilaria, celebrating the resurrection of the god Attis, is on March 25 and is referred to as "Roman Laughing Day."

In Portugal, April Fool's Day falls on the Sunday and Monday before Lent. In this celebration, some  people throw flour at their friends.  Can you imagine?

The Huli Festival is celebrated on March 31 in India. People play jokes on one another and smear colors on one another, thus celebrating the arrival of Spring.

It is a truth that people everywhere dearly love to laugh.  Laughter is truly good for one's soul.

Happy April Fool's Day and have a lovely Postcard Friendship Friday!

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Lyneen said...

Thanks for sharing the history behind April Fool's Day... There is so much to learn from postcards!!!

Paul van Yperen said...

While having a flu, I forgot all about April Fool's Day, Poisson d'Avril or 1 April, as we say. Did not hear of any great jokesyesterday yet. Your card is very nice, I also like these surrealistic French fish cards for Poisson d'Avril and try to collect them. Beth, I hope you had a good laugh yesterday and thanks for your interesting post.

Anonymous said...

bookmarked!!, I love your site!