Holidays are a great way to compare and contrast cultural practices. Today is April Fools’ Day. If you don’t know it, April Fools is semi-holiday, it is basically just a day to prank your friends, coworkers and loved-ones.
April Fools’ Day
Apparently April Fools’ Day has been popular since the 19th century and is well known in at least Canada, Europe, Australia, Brazil and the United States. Wikipedia also mentions that in the UK, one reveals an April Fools’ joke by yelling “April Fools!” at the victim, this is pretty much how I remember April Fools’ shannagens going down in the U.S. (except for a being announced with a far-more-boring American accent). And fabulously enough, in Italy, France, Belgium, and French-speaking areas of Switzerland and Canada, some practice an April Fools’ tradition known as “April fish” where one tries to surreptitiously attach a paper fish to someone’s back.
It’s noted in the Wikipedia article that Norway and other Scandinavian countries’ newspapers often publish one fake story as an April Fools’ joke. I found one account of a 1950 newspaper hoax article advertising a 75% off tax-free sale at the Vinmonopolet (state controlled alcohol distributor) due to an overshipment of French wine and a lack of bottles in which to sell it (the catch was you had to bring your own container). Even today, I think anyone who has purchased alcohol in Norway can imagine both the allure of this tale and the sting of the hoax!
Some internet sources say that in Norway April Fools is celebrated twice, on April 1 and on April 30. Can any Norwegians verify this? Also, if you want to share a story of typical Norwegian April-foolery please post below! Want to check out this year’s April Fools’ news stories? Click here.
As for me, I once recreated an error message for my Dad’s computer so when he came and jiggled the mouse to wake the computer up he saw one of the most irritating errors (which bascially indicated you’d have to restart the computer) except I added “April Fools” in the error message at the end. That is still my proudest April Fools’ moment, and I think I was 11. I’d say should start working on these pranks again, except April Fools’ Day makes me unduly anxious, a sweaty-palmed holiday for me. Maybe I can take up the April fish tradition instead!
Pi Day: no, it’s not an April Fools’ joke.
I would love to hear about some other students’ favorite Holidays or Holiday traditions (feel free to comment). Did anybody else participate in the recent Pi Day? Pi Day is celebrated – with pies of course! – on 14th March. This makes sense in the U.S. because when we write dates nummerically we write the month then the date, in other words 14th March is 3.14 (and Pi “π” is, as you probably know, the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter which is ~ 3.14).
If you missed Pi Day on 14th March, perhaps you want to join the Brits in celebrating it on 31st April or 31.4!
I’m also wondering if all the stores in Bergen really close for Easter today or is that a great April Fools day prank?! If it’s not a prank and you’re not spending your Easter on Easter Moutain, get out there and stock up on groceries!