By Carrie Stefanski
Gotcha, noddies! That’s what they call those who are tricked on April 1, in England. Although the Thorndike bathroom ad was an actual (ingenious) idea, Gale will not be using it at the next trade show. Some good ideas are best left as ideas, or, when timed right, April Fool’s jokes.
We’re lucky in the States, to be one of four countries to partake in St. All-Fools’ Morn. We have France to thank. In 1582, Pope Gregory XIII introduced a new calendar that changed New Year’s Day to January 1. Because of poor communication, many people didn’t hear about the change right away and continued to celebrate on April 1. Those folks were dubbed the April fools. Personally, I think Scotland has the best fool terms with gowk or cuckoo.
My dad was a great gowk year after year. Every April Fool’s Day of my childhood, after school, my mom would call him and tell him she wrecked the family van, she either calmly told a story of a light post and broken a headlight, or how she got rear-ended and smashed up the back. Of course, there’s nothing funny about car accidents, but waiting at the window to watch my dad run to the garage when he got home from work was priceless! And now, I can call him gowk for it!
Holidays, Symbols and Customs taught me everything I needed to know about this holiday and then some. Did you know April Fool’s Day and Leap Year came to be at the same time? Nuts! This holiday research enticed me to seek out other spring holidays using eBooks on GVRL.
In Poland, Marzenna Day just passed, bidding farewell to winter and hello to spring. Townspeople decorate a straw doll and throw her in the river as a sacrifice to appease the gods of storms and floods. Then, dancing and singing commences while they recall the legend of a great young man who saves her.
If honoring a monarch is more your style, might I suggest the parades of Greernery Day, or Midori-no-Hi, in Japan. Paper lanterns, traditional Japanese customs, and fireworks are all important necessities to celebrate the world’s longest ruling monarch, Emperor Hirohito of Japan (1901-1989). Not only are there festivities in the city, Tokyo Tower and Shiba Park, but many also plant trees and appreciate nature.
Leave it to Italy for the romantic spring holiday of May Day Eve, celebrated on April 30. On this day, boys compete with each other to write and sing the most persuasive lyrics to the young ladies. Nearly a week later (typical, right?), they return to the serenaded houses with empty baskets and the families fill them with something to eat.
Take a peek at these eBook titles, available on GVRL, to celebrate something new, borrow other countries traditions and start them in your library, or at home.
- Holidays, Symbols and Customs
- Holidays, Festivals, and Celebrations of the World Dictionary
- World Holidays: A Rosen Guide for Children
- Religious Celebrations: An Encyclopedia Of Holidays, Festivals, Solemn Observances, And Spiritual Commemorations
- Holidays Of World Cookbook For Students
- Religious Holidays and Calendars
- Junior Worldmark Encyclopedia of World Holidays
- Holidays and Anniversaries of the World
And if you missed your chance to fool some cuckoos, mark December 28 on your calendar. Pranks are perfectly acceptable in Mexico on Holy Innocent’s Day. It’s fair game!
While Gale won’t actually be sponsoring the bathrooms at ALA Annual, we will occasionally have some fun here by featuring “Ads We Never Made.” Be sure to subscribe by email or RSS to see what happens when our creative juices really get flowing. Have a campaign idea for your library that you loved (or laughed at!) but never brought to light? Feel free to submit ideas of your own—who knows, maybe we’ll put our creative talents to work designing a sample ad for you, too!
About the Author
Carrie is starting her public library career after six years in higher education IT. She has a B.S. in written communications, gets her work/life balance playing roller derby, and still has her first library card.