Caution: If you notice someone telling you that Old 500 and 1000 Rupees notes are being exchanged for a day, check your calendar. There’s a good chance it’s April 1!
What can be the best prank than this on April Fools’ Day?
April Fools’ Day is nearly upon us again but have you ever wondered why we celebrate it? Well, unfortunately the joke’s on us because while we spend days plotting how to trick our colleagues, friends and family, nobody really knows why we actually do so. What we do know is that the tradition dates back hundreds of years, and everyone celebrates the day by pranking, or pulling practical jokes or by organizing larger-scale hoaxes. Whatever the gag, it usually ends with the prankster yelling “April Fool!” when the victim falls for it.
April Fools’ Day, sometimes called All Fools’ Day, is one of the most light-hearted days of the year. But how the custom of pranking on April 1 came about remains shrouded in mystery. Some see it as a celebration related to the turn of the seasons, while most believe it stems from the adoption of a new Gregorian calendar in the late 1500s when the New Year was moved from April 1 to January 1. Those who forgot the change or kept to the old tradition and the old date were labeled fools, hence the association. It is worth noting that many different cultures have had days of foolishness around the start of April, give or take a couple of weeks. The Romans had a festival named Hilaria on March 25, rejoicing in the resurrection of Attis. The Hindu calendar has Holi, and the Jewish calendar has Purim. Perhaps there’s something about the time of year, with its turn from winter to spring, that lends itself to lighthearted celebrations. Wherever and whenever the custom began, it has since evolved its own lore and set of unofficial rules. Superstition has it that the pranking period expires at noon on the 1st of April and any jokes attempted after that time will call bad luck down onto the head of the perpetrator. Additionally, those who fail to respond with good humor to tricks played upon them are said to attract bad luck to them.
For most of us, the first day of April is a glorious celebration of heinous pranks and minions GIFs but that’s not the case for the billion plus humans living in China. China has banned people from playing April Fools’ Day jokes on one another. The Chinese government unveiled a campaign aimed at stopping “irresponsible rumors”, and threatening three years in jail if untrue posts online were widely reposted. China’s state media declared Western pranks go against socialist values and is not consistent with the cultural tradition. The nation’s state news agency urged the people not to “believe, spread or create rumors”.
An another view is that when genuine news is published on April Fools’ Day, it is occasionally misinterpreted as a joke—for example, when Google, known to play elaborate April Fools’ Day hoaxes, announced the launch of Gmail with 1-gigabyte inboxes in 2004, an era when competing webmail services offered 4 MB or less, many dismissed it as a joke outright. On the other hand, sometimes stories intended as jokes are taken seriously. Either way, there can be adverse effects, such as confusion, misinformation, waste of resources (especially when the hoax concerns people in danger), and even legal or commercial consequences. However, April Fools can be good for one’s health because it encourages belly laughs and brings all the benefits of laughter including stress relief and reducing strain on the heart. Various April Fools’ campaigns have been praised for their innovation, creativity, writing, and general effort.
April 1 is the April Fools’ Day where people can publicly lie and not be punished. Why don’t we do the opposite and make this day ‘truth telling day’? Hopefully this day we can speak the truth, express our true colors, spread the truth without being restricted or punished, without getting blacklisted as inviting crime. It’s we who has to decide what to make out of it, whether we want to plan some lies, some pranks to spread laughter and happiness or we want to begin a new wave of truth, trust, respect and a fresh start of life with hopes and much more.
On a lighter note, what’s the best April Fools’ Day joke or prank that’s ever been played on you? Has anyone ever asked you to help pull a prank on a friend? What would the ultimate April Fools’ Day joke be? If you could pull off any kind of prank or hoax on anyone in the world, what would it be? What kind of help would you need to succeed? Why would this prank or joke be the ultimate? Share your thoughts with a friend or family member. Maybe they’ll help you plan it!