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  Weekly Feature: (April 1, 2004)
 

 
 

Pat's Weekly Feature
April Fool's Day

 

What do the words prankster, practical joke, and fool have in common? They are all associated with April Fool's Day.

April Fool's Day is observed in several countries each year on April 1st. Practical jokes or tricks are played on people, usually before noon. These small jokes are meant to be harmless, resulting in laughter, especially from the person upon whom the joke is played. 

For example, a common trick is to point down at a friend's shoe and say that his or her shoelace is undone. Afterward, the prankster says, "April Fool." A joke was once played by a British television company when it televised a documentary show about "spaghetti farmers" growing "spaghetti trees."

People have followed April Fool's Day customs in different countries for several centuries. How these customs originated is unclear. However, this tradition probably began in 1582, in France. Before 1582, the new year was celebrated from March 25 to April 1st. 

A new calendar, the Gregorian Calendar, was introduced, which changed the new year to January 1st. People who continued to celebrate on April 1st because of ignorance or refusal to change were called fools and had practical jokes played on them.

Vocabulary

Fool around - waste time foolishly 
Foolery - a foolish action Foolhardy - foolishly bold 
Fool hen - a game bird such as the partridge that is indifferent to danger 
Foolproof - so simple that even a fool can do it 
Fool's cap - a cap worn by the fool or jester of a king 
Fool's errand - a foolish or useless undertaking 
Fool's gold - a mineral that looks like gold 
Fool's paradise - happiness that is based on false hopes

Links

Top 100 April Fool's Hoaxes of All Time

Another Explanation of April Fool's

More on April Fool's

April Fool's Information (includes vocabulary)

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