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April Fool’s Day

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April Fool’s Day goes back as far as the Middle Ages. Although the exact meaning behind April Fool’s Day has been lost over time, the general belief is that is has to do with the shifting of the New Year’s celebration to January 1st. Until the late 18th century, New Years had been celebrated at the end of March. For that reason, the original April Fool’s Day traditions were done to poke fun at those who still unknowingly celebrated the new year on April 1st.

April Fools’ Day is one of the funniest and joyful days of the year and is celebrated annually on the first day of April by people playing practical jokes on each other and staging elaborate hoaxes. Although this day is not recognized as a national holiday in any country, it is very popular and well known all over the world. Each country has it’s own way of celebrating April Fool’s Day and although the types of pranks vary, they are all in the same good spirited and friendly tone.

In Greece, custom has it that the person who plays the practical joke on a friend or neighbor will have good fortune throughout the New Year. April traditionally marks the beginning of the spring and folklore holds that the person playing the joke or pulling a hoax would enjoy a bountiful harvest while the victim of the prank would be jinxed with a year of misfortune. So much so that in parts of northern Greece April’s first rain waters are considered lucky in the sense that they are therapeutic and they are collected and bottled for good luck and good health.

One of the more infamous April Fool’s Day Jokes in Greece was played out in 1995 when the Ministry of Culture announced that the grave of the famous Greek Philosopher Socrates was found at the foot of the Acropolis along with the small container of the hemlock poison that killed him. Of course they soon later announced that it was an Aprils Fool’s Day Joke!

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