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Believe it or not, it’s up to you!

How many times do you laugh out loud in a day? Laughing is the most important factor for living a happy life. However laughter is hard to come by these days. For example when you read the newspaper there are no happy or exciting articles anywhere within the pages. Isn’t there any way to reverse the feeling of gloom which is so common these days? One possibility is to celebrate April Fools Day! Most people probably have a memory of playing a prank on their teacher or friend on April 1st. Though a long time may pass, various joking plays an important role in peoples lives. People need laughter and often remember enjoyable times from the past, which in turn keeps them happy in the present. 

On April 1st playing tricks and deceiving other people is allowed because of April Fools Day. Deceived people were called ‘fools’ and after the prank was played a person said ‘April Fools’. This is a western custom, but where did the April Fools Day originate? Surprisingly, this holiday is celebrated all over the world and there are a variety of views about the origin of this custom. It has been documented that April Fools Day first started in France in 1712. The holiday steadily spread throughout England in the late 1700’s.

There are some common views about the history of the holiday. First, the celebrated day of the New Year in old times was March 25th. From March 25th to April 1st people conducted a ceremony, which was called the spring equinox and on the last day there was a gift exchange. In the case of India they sent people on useless errands and fooled people on March 31st. In 1564 Charles IX of France changed the celebration of the New Year to January 1st. There were a small number of people who couldn’t break the convention and they still believe April 1st to be the last day of the year. They even continue the traditions of exchanging gifts and celebrating with a New Year party. By developing this habit, other countries also set April Fools Day on April 1st.

What if one day you received a mail which stated that you won the first prize in the lottery? How would you feel? You would love it if this situation was real, however it is not. April Fools! This is the kind of prank that could only happen on April Fools Day.  In Korea, there are many similar situations at school. For example, ‘We have no class today’ or ‘We have class outside today’ are written on the black board.

According to a survey on April Fools Day, the two most common pranks are telling someone they won a prize and a lover telling their significant other they want to break-up. The two most uncommon pranks are people telling each other they want to end a friendship and telling someone they gained weight. It is also more common for men to play pranks on each other rather than women.

There are however some very clever and well-planned pranks. One April Fools Day in England the BBC broadcasting station brought in Patrick Moore, a famous astronomer as a guest. He said that because the sun and the earths orbit had shifted some places on earth would experience lack of gravity. Toward the end of the broadcast the producer said that it was all a lie. April Fools! The pranks do not stop there; even foreign presses participate in the fooling of the masses.

The Moscow Times, an English-language daily newspaper published in Moscow, Russia reported ‘The confrontation of a private car between Russia and the American President’. This story was introduced to domestic and foreign presses as reality and so the news quickly spread. This article included interesting content and even a fake You Tube video was put up on the internet to make it all the more believable. Both domestic and international press began covering the story…April Fools!

When asked about April Fools Day, a professor of Culture in Dongguk University said, “In Korea April Fools Day became prevalent in modern society because of mass media.” This phenomenon makes it much easier for Western culture to be introduced in the East. “The biggest reason for keeping April Fools Day is humans’ sensitivity. Expectation, desire and eagerness are connected with the expectation of society. All people know that lying is bad, but people are aimed at truth through white lie. People can express these sensitivities on April Fools Day.” Many people want to take a break from their daily routine, so most people enjoy celebrating April Fools Day!
         


Bang Hye-jung  bhj9154@dongguk.edu

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