April Fools Day, a Worldwide Celebration

April Fools Day is celebrated yearly all around the world on April first.  It is a day of freedom to flout the status quo, maybe play a few pranks and even dress up in costume.  There are various theories on the origins of the holiday.  One, for example, is that the holiday dates back to the ancient Roman festival of Hilaria, a day of games and masquerades, celebrated March 25th.  Another theory is that an official day of pranks originated with the Persian holiday Norouz (celebrated April 1 or April 2).  Regardless of its origin, it has become a worldwide celebration.

Over the centuries, countries have developed their own traditions.  In France, for example, April 1st is called "Poisson d'Avril,” which literally means “April’s Fish.”  The traditional prank is to attach a paper fish to victim’s back without them being aware of it; then when they notice it, others around them yell “Poisson d’Avril!” (April Fish!).

In Poland, April Fools Day is called Pryma Aprylis. Celebrations often involve dressing up in costumes, in addition to pranks. Though in recent years the Polish media has also joined in the fun, it is traditionally a holiday for children.

In Scotland, April Fools Day is also known as April Gowk or Taily Day.  Though the celebrations last two days, pranks are only played in the morning.   One traditional prank is to stick an April Gowk sign on someone’s backside and is likely the predecessor of the popular “Kick Me” sign, in which the victim is unaware of the sign attached to their posterior until others – well, kick them.

And yet, there remains the universality of April Fools Day.  Though the traditions vary, the lighthearted spirit of fun is universal and can be seen in the following images.

A child in Skopje, Macedonia dressed in costume for April Fools Day. (Source: CS Monitor)

A photo from the Fools' Day Festival in the Ukrainian city of Odessa where people sing and dance while dressed as comic characters.

Runners at the 13th Annual April Fools Day New York City "Backwards Mile," where more than 100 runners completed the one mile race running backwards. (Source: International Business Times)

As these images show, the love of a good laugh is universal.  This year - whether you are traveling or at home, experiencing new traditions or celebrating your own - the Tripping team wishes you a fun-filled April Fools Day! 

Additional photo credits:  Photo 1 (CS Monitor) ; Photo 2 (isbm); Photo 3 (hownowdesign)

Sources:     ALS International; Associated Content Yahoo; CS Monitor; Wikipedia