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2011-03-31

You Need to Know: April Fool's History & Pranks!

I heard some one say recently that they thought April Fool's Day - a day for pranks - was the most ridiculous holiday they had ever heard of. I for one think it is quite fun - why not celebrate pranks? But then, on the other hand - why? Why do we reserve one day of the year for trickery?

Well, according to a very in-depth (and important sounding) Internet Investigation by yours truly, it is generally accepted that the modern tradition (LOL!) began in France during the Sixteenth Century, and dates to the changes brought on by the Gregorian Calendar. (Of course, prior to that, there were similar Celebration Days held on or around that day for various reasons -advent of Spring, a god's feast day, etc. Like many ancient practices, many of these traditions have since morphed with current practice and April Fool's is a very international holiday.)

At the time, as I am sure you know (my Readers, as we all know, are extremely intelligent after all), communications were not great, so when Pope Gregory changed the calendar in the 1580's, it took a while - maybe even years - for folks to hear of and accept that the New Year now started on January 1, not on April 1, as it had previously. Through ignorance or disbelief, a portion of the populace continued to celebrate the New Year on April 1.

Those "in the know" started playing pranks on these "fools" by inviting them to parties that didn't exist, or putting a paper fish on their back (because young fish are so naive - this is why the holiday is called Poisson d'avril in French). Of course, over time, the new Calendar was widely accepted. But did the holiday become obsolete with this new knowledge and now-popular belief? Heck no! Why give up the fun? Instead, it evolved into a day to make a fool of someone by playing pranks on them :-). The practice later spread to England, Scotland and North America.

Some folks play pranks only in the morning of April Fool's Day - this comes from the English tradition, where it is considered bad luck to play a prank on someone after noon.

In Scotland, pranks involving the buttocks became popular (I realised when I read this that this is how my boys' Scottish roots must be showing up!)...as such, the origins of the "Kick Me" sign can be traced back to the Scottish observance of April Fools!

Now, you'd probably like some prankish ideas, huh? Wouldn't you know it, but I've compiled a round-up of ideas just for you! You can thank me later ;-)

Here are my favourites:  
  • The Perfect-For-Kids Prank: When your children are asleep, sneak into their room and draw clown faces, mustaches, eyebrows, etc. on them.... how long will it take them to notice? Hilarious!
  • The Everyone-Can-Do-It Prank: Stick a tiny post-it note under the prankee's mouse so that the paper leaf covers the mouse ball (make sure the sticky part is NOT on the ball) - the mouse will no longer work! Don't tell DH - this one's for him!!
  • The What-To-Do-With-All-Those-Darn-Balls Prank - I'm talking about those silly balls that come with kids' play tents, or even ping pong balls.... stick them in a cupboard or closet you know will get opened - the higher up the better - easy-peasy :-)
  • The One-Kids-Can-Play on Their-Dad Prank - Help your kids put a balloon on the tailpipe of the car. (Make sure the car isn't already on!). When he gets in and starts the car, the balloon will pop - sounding like a tire popped. (Be careful!)
  • The Newspaper Prank - Tape the pages of the newspaper together in a way it can't be noticed... the prankee won't be able to flip the pages to read it.
  • The Works-Well-Every-Time Prank - when outside, suddenly stop and point up to the sky with alarm. When others follow suit - April Fool's. The kids can do this one on Grandma, their friends, Uncle Joe.... 
  • The Oh-So-EVIL Prank: Sticky Shower...remove the shower head and place a hard candy in it, and put the shower head back in place. Your prankee will take a shower as usual and not notice the difference until  they get out, start to dry off and the towel stick to them. Of course, I wouldn't do this to DH if he was running late for work ;-)
Many of these can be found on:  Fun MunchApril Fool's; Kidz World or April Fool Zone  - visit them for even more ideas!

Have a good one :-)

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