01 April 2012

April Fool’s Day…


April Fools' Day is celebrated in different countries in the Northern Hemisphere on April 1 every year. In the Southern Hemisphere it is celebrated six months later, on October 1. Sometimes referred to as All Fools' Day, April 1 is not a national holiday in any country, but is widely recognized and celebrated as a day when many people play all kinds of jokes and foolishness. The day is marked by the commission of good-humoured or otherwise funny jokes, hoaxes, and other practical jokes of varying sophistication on friends, family members, teachers, neighbors, work associates, etc.


In France and Italy children (and adults, when appropriate) traditionally tack paper fish on each other's back as a trick and shout "april fish!" in their local language ("poisson d'avril!" and "pesce d'aprile!" in French and Italian respectively).

The earliest recorded association between April 1 and foolishness can be found in Chaucer's Canterbury Tales (1392). Many writers suggest that the restoration of January 1 as New Year's Day in the 16th century was responsible for the creation of the holiday, but this theory does not explain earlier references.

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image © Dr.Satyendra Kumar Agarwal

April Fool's Day is a "for-fun-only" observance. Practical jokes are a common practice on this Day. Some believe it sort of evolved simultaneously in several cultures at the same time, from celebrations involving the first day of spring.

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American April Fool’s Day postcard prepared by Geo. W. Parker Art Co. of Minneapolis

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Sometimes, elaborate practical jokes are played on friends or relatives that last the entire day.

The closest point in time that can be identified as the beginning of this tradition was in 1582, in France. Prior to that year, the New Year was celebrated for eight days, beginning on March 25 and culminating on April 1. With the reform of the calendar under Charles IX, the Gregorian calendar was introduced, and New Year's Day was moved to January 1.

Though in general sense the First April is a day for practical jokes but for philately it gave many first. Few countries chosen this day to start a new postal service and some to close down. This day also witnessed first stamp issue of few postal administrations. Illustrated Postal stationeries also brought out commemorating this special day.

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