By Hira Nauman

April fool Day also known as “All Fool’s Day” or “April Fish” has been celebrated on 1st April every year throughout the world. It is not a declared public holiday or festival but people celebrate this day by playing different harmless hoaxes and pranks e.g. pasting signs at the back of other people (kick me, hit me etc.) without the person knowing, telling the wrong time, tell someone your shoes are not tied etc. every year. The victims of the pranks are called “April Fools”.

The origin of the April fool day and its practice is still uncertain but different cultures quote their own history of celebrating it. Romans called it a “Fish Day” or “Romans Laughing Day” in which people paste fish shaped signs at the back of the people and then shout “April Fish”, Indians celebrate “Holi” every year on 1st of April, in which people gathered and throw different colures on each other and enjoy. Holi is still a public holiday in India and celebrated with enthusiasm. Historians also linked the Fool’s Day with the ancient Rome’s festival “Hilaria”, in which people dressed up in disguise. Some says it is celebrated when Mother Nature fooled people with change in weather i.e. spring, others it is originated from Christians, who celebrate their victory against Muslims in Spain on 1st April etc. The most accepted theory by historians of the celebration of the day is the change in “Julian calendar to Gregorian calendar” in 1563. In France, the New Year begins with spring at the end of March every year but later it was changed to 1st January. People took some time to remember the new date and later who celebrates New Year in March were called “April Fools” in humor.

In western countries, the large corporations also got involved in practical jokes by using print media, televisions, radios, internet etc… The practice of April fool pranks is still controversial; it has its critics and supporters despite its origin. The supporters claims, it has its positive impacts like it can reduce tensions, stress and gives belly laughs etc… According to critics, it can cause serious physical or repute damage as pranks are usually rude, manipulative and based on lies and with the advent of technology it can embarrass larger audience. In Pakistan, it is not practiced on national level but people enjoy the pranks and jokes on individual levels. While celebrating the day, we should keep ethical and religious values in mind i.e. we should not lie and does not practice pranks that can hurt people.

Published in Young Nation on April 2, 2016