April is three days away, which means people are starting to plan their April Fools’ Day pranks. I thought I’d take this opportunity to do a little research on other countries' April Fools’ traditions. I learned some interesting facts.
I learned that in New Zealand, Australia, South Africa and the UK (among other countries), April Fools’ Day only lasts until noon. Anyone who pulls a prank after noon is called an April Fool, and is serenaded with cries of "April Fool's Day's past and gone, You're the fool for making one." (Somehow I doubt they actually say this.)
I also learned that France and Italy have their own April Fools' tradition. People tack paper fishes on other people’s backs and shout “April fish!” (actually "poisson d'avril!" or "pesce d'aprile!").
Finally, I learned that in Scotland they used to have a different name for April Fool’s Day. They called it Hunt-the-Gowk Day ("gowk" is a word for a cuckoo or a fool). They had some elaborate tradition that I don't really understand, involving a written message that says "Dinna laugh, dinna smile. Hunt the gowk another mile."
I’m actually not a big prankster, so April Fools' Day usually comes and goes without me noticing. But I know that some people get a lot of pleasure out of pulling pranks on April Fools’ Day. To those people, I say enjoy your special day.
Photo: Vintage Lulu via Flickr