April Fools

April Fool’s Day is when pranksters rejoice in having the freedom of using their mostly harmless activities against others. Many people don’t understand the real meaning behind it. If it’s all fun and games, no one really bothers with understanding what April Fool’s Day really represents. It all started with confusion.

For as long as we can remember, we have heard mixed origins of April Fool’s day. Some even say it has a dark history when two opposing parties were at war, like in the Trojan horse story. One of their camps got infiltrated by the other after they were fooled by some sort of distraction. This led to mass execution. That source is incorrect and nowhere to be found which also justifies that one should never just believe what others say no matter how amusing or interesting it may sound.

April Fool’s day is a pseudo-unofficial holiday celebrated globally. That is a joke if we actually think as we never really remember ever getting a day off on this day. Each year we are graced with lame verbal or physical jokes that only end up with cringe, sometimes a few bruises or broken hearts and unquestionable eye-rolling. April Fools is also said to be similar to the tricks of Halloween though the pranks are considered somewhat lighter than the dark scares of the October ones.

“Organized festivals and spontaneous personal acts that celebrate the absurd through pranks exist worldwide,” writes folklorist Nancy Cassell McEntire in her examination of the origins and meaning of all this merriment.

Globally how this day is celebrated varies slightly. For instance, in North America, Europe, and Australia, this day is celebrated similarly to what we do in Pakistan, mostly with harmless pranks and lame jokes accompanied by lies. Meanwhile, in northern England and Scotland, an old tradition is practised which comprises sending someone on a meaningless errand. The prank is only considered successful when the individual is able to do that particular task or errand without knowing they are fooled. For example, delivering an empty gift wrap box.

April Fool’s Day is a European concept. It dates back to 1564 when Charles IX implemented the Gregorian Calendar, marking the beginning of the new year on the 1st of January. Prior to that, it was celebrated at the beginning of spring, the 1st of April. Like all things, this change took some time to fully adapt, leading to confusion. Many were still wishing people a New Year on the 1st of April and were corrected for that error. As per tradition, gifts were also exchanged, so when a person visited a friend or family member with a gift to wish them New Year’s on April 1st, they were called fools lightheartedly. Thus began April Fool’s Day.

Jovial, harmless pranks and lies are the primary focus on April Fool’s Day as it’s supposed to be a jovial occasion. However, few take it too far, which is not advised. Playing with fireworks to scare someone, scaring someone without knowing their heart condition, or pranking someone during an activity (driving a car, cutting vegetables, mowing a lawn, etc.) can lead to some dire results we can only imagine. Joke around, but being mindful is also crucial to this holiday.

There also is an underlying psychological aspect in this whole ordeal. The sense of distrust that forms after one is pranked repeatedly by the same source is a common after-effect. Even though we continue our lives the next day, the trust is shaken a little every year. This is where we must remind ourselves not to overthink something facetious and be flippant about it.

In the present modern world, avoid taking anything seriously this day. Now that we have progressed from prank calls and fart bombs in schools to the age of the internet, be very aware of what you believe or click on today! Many brands and companies take this as an opportunity to execute creative campaigns, but some can irk you and be prevented by not indulging.

Stay safe and happy eye-rolling unless you are a prankster!

NOTE: This article was originally published in pnkandco.com, a lifestyle, and entertainment website currently on hiatus.

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