Labeling people stuck to old traditions and customs as 'fools', sending them on 'fool errands' and hooking a paper fish on their backs as a joke to depict them as 'April Fish' that represented young and naïve fishes that are easily caught on the first day of April were a common practice in Britain, France and Scotland in the 18th century and were later introduced to the American colonies. With its spread and reach all over the world, it has now acquired an international flavor. Scottish people often refer to April Fool's Day as Taily Day, the day on which especially the spoofs involving the buttocks are put into action.
The victims of these jokes are known as 'April Gowk'. Gawk is another
name for cuckoo bird. One can trace the continuance of these tricks in
the popular 'Kick Me' signs that are placed on the victim's butts
unknowingly to make people laugh. Mexican people celebrate a similar
festival on December 28, which used to be a sad remembrance of the
slaughter of the innocent children by the cruel King Herod. Later it
evolved into lighter commemoration of children's pranks and trickery.
English people call the fooled victims as 'noodle', 'gobs' or 'gobby'.
They play pranks only in the morning and it is considered bad luck to
play pranks and practical jokes after noon.
Romans celebrate a similar festival by the name of 'Hilaria', when
their God Attis was believed to have resurrected. This festival is also
known as 'Roman Laughing Day' and will be celebrated on 25th March this
year. Portuguese celebrate a similar festival as April Fool's Day on the
Sunday and Monday before Lent season, where people throw flour at their
friends. India's festival 'Holi' that will be celebrated on 31st March
2005 is a Spring festival, where people play jokes on one another and
smear each other's faces with colors and flower extracts.