By Angela Padrón
Most people know that April 1st is the best day to play a practical joke on someone. That’s because it’s April Fools’ Day! Also called “All Fools’ Day,” this holiday has been celebrated for many centuries all over the world and still continues strong today.
No one really knows how April Fools’ Day began. Some historians believe the tradition dates back to 1582 when the New Year began on April 1st. However, when France began using the Gregorian calendar they changed that date to January 1st. Anyone who didn’t know this still celebrated the new year on the wrong day and were therefore teased. In some countries, people were sent on phony errands as a joke while others had fake tails, paper fish, or “kick me” signs attached to their backsides. Others believe that April Fools’ Day relates to Hilaria, a festival celebrated during March in ancient Rome when people wore disguises. Or, it could relate to the spring equinox in the Northern Hemisphere when the weather can change unpredictably, causing people to be fooled by the unknown late winter/early spring weather.
Today, people around the world still participate in this peculiar but fun holiday. For example, newspapers as well as radio and TV stations like to give phony news stories or state hoaxes to their audience. Restaurants have come up with fake meals to sell, or sports channels have portrayed certain athletes with incredible abilities that could not possibly be true. The fun part is to see who actually falls for the tricks. Some people may take the jokes a bit too far, however, so it’s important to make sure that any joke or trick played on someone will not cause physical, emotional or mental harm.
There’s nothing better than hearing children laughing, so why not have a fun time celebrating April Fools’ Day at home or in the classroom? Here are some ideas to keep the celebration safe and appropriate:
• Come up with a list of synonyms and antonyms for related words, like funny, joke, trick
• Have students create their own joke book filled with different types of jokes
• Have students write a journal entry or essay about a time they had a practical joke played on them or fooled someone else
• Have students write about the funniest thing they’ve ever seen or heard
• Read funny books with students by humorous authors
• Have students create a funny mask that will make their friends laugh
• Hold a contest to see who can make the funniest face
• Write a research report about a famous comedian or humorous actor
April Fools’ Day is right around the corner. But you never know who might be lurking around that corner, so be sure to keep your eye out for any practical jokes coming your way!