April Fool’s Day
"The first of April is the day we remember what we are the other 364 days of the year. "
- American humorist Mark Twain
In sixteenth-century France, the start of the new year was observed on April first. It was celebrated in much the same way as it is today with parties and dancing into the late hours of the night. Then in 1562, Pope Gregory introduced a new calendar for the Christian world, and the new year fell on January first. There were some people, however, who hadn’t heard or didn’t believe the change in the date, so they continued to celebrate New Year’s Day on April first. Others played tricks on them and called them "April fools." They sent them on a "fool’s errand" or tried to make them believe that something false was true. In France today, April first is called "Poisson d’Avril." French children fool their friends by taping a paper fish to their friends’ backs. When the "young fool" discovers this trick, the prankster yells "Poisson d’Avril!" (April Fish!)
Today Americans play small tricks on friends and strangers alike on the first of April. One common trick on April Fool’s Day, or All Fool’s Day, is pointing down to a friend’s shoe and saying, "Your shoelace is untied." Teachers in the nineteenth century used to say to pupils, "Look! A flock of geese!" and point up. School children might tell a classmate that school has been canceled. Whatever the trick, if the innocent victim falls for the joke the prankster yells, "April Fool! "
The "fools’ errands" we play on people are practical jokes. Putting salt in the sugar bowl for the next person is not a nice trick to play on a stranger. College students set their clocks an hour behind, so their roommates show up to the wrong class - or not at all. Some practical jokes are kept up the whole day before the victim realizes what day it is. Most April Fool jokes are in good fun and not meant to harm anyone. The most clever April Fool joke is the one where everyone laughs, especially the person upon whom the joke is played.
在法国十六世纪, 新一年的开始据说是在四月一日. 象现在一样, 人们在深夜以派对, 跳舞的方式来进行庆祝. 然而, 在1562年, 罗马教皇Gregory向基督徒们介绍了新的日历, 新年变成了一月一日. 然而, 有一些人, 他们没听说改日历的事或者并不相信日期改变了, 所以他们继续在四月一日这天庆祝新年. 其他的人就开他们的玩笑, 并称他们为 “四月愚人”. 他们派给他们愚蠢的差事或者设法让他们相信某些假的事情是真的. 在法国的今天, 人们称四月一日为 “愚人节”. 法国孩子在他们的朋友的后背上贴上纸鱼来戏弄他们, 当这个 “小傻瓜” 发现了这个把戏之后, 开玩笑的人就喊到: “愚人”.
当今, 美国人在四月一日会以类似的方式对朋友和陌生人搞些小把戏. 在愚人节, 最常见的把戏是指向一个朋友的鞋, 说; “你的鞋带儿开了.” 在十九世纪, 老师们过去常常手指向上方, 对学生说: “看! 一群鹅!”. 学校的学生很可能告诉同班同学课取消了. 无论是什么玩笑, 如果无辜的被愚弄者上当了, 开玩笑的人就喊到: “愚人!”.
我们在人们身上开的 “愚人差事” 就是恶作剧. 在糖碗里放上盐给身边的人喝, 这可不是对陌生人开的好玩笑. 大学生将表调慢了一个小时, 因此, 他们的室友进错了班, 或者根本就没能上课. 在被愚弄者搞清楚这一天是什么日子之前, 有些恶作剧会持续搞一整天. 大部分的愚人玩笑是好心的玩笑, 并不是故意伤害人的. 最聪明的愚人玩笑就是那种大家全都在那儿笑, 尤其是被愚弄的那个人.