How to be Foolish | Culture| Arts, music and lifestyle reporting from Germany | DW | 03.04.2002
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How to be Foolish

The most foolish day of the year has arrived - April Fool's Day. Tell us about your best April Fool's pranks. We'll put together a website with the funniest stories.



"The First of April is the day we remember what we are the other 364 days of the year" Mark Twain once said. Indeed, fooling around on April Fool’s day is a popular celebration – a tradition which reaches far back in the 16th century.

In 1582, when Pope Gregory XIII changed the calendar, King Charles IX of France declared January 1 as the first day of the year. Up until this time, New Year’s festivities began on March 25 and ended on April 1, otherwise regarded as the first day of the year.

However, as communication in those days took a little longer than today, a large number of people still celebrated the New Year on April 1 after 1582. Others simply refused to accept January 1 as New Year’s Day. In the end, those in favour of April 1 started making fun of those against, or ignorant, of April 1 – playing jokes and labelling them as fools. Hence April Fool’s Day.

The tradition of playing pranks on this particular date evolved to other European countries, such as England and Scotland in the 18th century, only to follow on in the American colonies.

Thus, April Fool’s Day turned into an international event, a date still celebrated around the world today. Indeed, it has become such a tradition, that even the news media has become involved – take the detailed documentary on "Spaghetti farmers", and how they harvest spaghetti on trees, on British television some years ago.

However, as humour varies from nation to nation, so do the tricks, pranks and jokes. If you would like to share your favourite April Fool’s Day jokes – or experiences – with us, please send us an email. We will publish the funniest on this page....