April 1st is a day of jokes and laughs but surprisingly no one seems to know the origin. Celebrated for many centuries across several countries, some see it as a celebration related to the turn of the seasons while other believe it stems from the adoption of a new calendar.
Ancient cultures celebrated New Year’s Day on or around April 1 following the spring equinox (March 20th or March 21st) and the Feast of Annunciation (March 25th). A Gregorian calendar was ordered in the late 1500s to replace the Julian calendar. This new calendar stated that New Year’s Day was to be celebrated on January 1st. Many countries adopted this calendar but there were those who either refused to accept it, or did not learn about it, and continued to celebrate New Year’s Day on April 1st. Quickly people began to make fun of them or send them on “fools errands” or pranks thus starting this Fools Day.
This Fool’s Day has gone from funny to downright mean in many instances and I want to make sure that you know which pranks to avoid as not to be harmful to others. Here are nine jokes/pranks that you want to avoid. if at any point you have to say, “it’s just a prank,” then the joke failed.
1. Pregnancy Announcements
Fertility is not a joke. It is such an emotionally triggered topic, and you never know when someone close is dealing with fertility issues. Posting a sonogram to social media and later returning to say “April fools” is not ok.
2. Fake Illnesses
Pretending to have any sort of serious illness is not only insensitive but weird. The people who are dealing with these actual illnesses will not think it is funny.
3. LGBTQ Announcements
Across the country people are being bullied for sharing their lifestyle choices and no one has the right to make fun of it. It’s just not funny.
4. Self- Harm
There are people actually contemplating self-harm and this could be triggering. Don’t add negatively to these thoughts.
5. Mental Health Disorders
This is a big issue, and thus it’s something that should never be joked about. It becomes a play on someone’s weaknesses or fears.
6. Rape Accusations
This should be self explanatory but just in case don’t do it. The number of people who are raped and afraid to report continues to grow. They are afraid of the shame and fear that people will not believe them. Don’t add to this!
7. Racist, Homophobic, or Sexist.
If you need to use an inappropiate stereotype to get your joke across then just don’t do it. It’s ok not to be funny.
8. Messing with Someone’s Food
With the growing rise of food allergies and people making the switch to vegetarian, don’t put someone’s health in jeopardy for a laugh. We can’t also forget the cultural reasons why people eat or don’t eat certain foods.
9. Workplace Pranks
I think it is great that Microsoft has already told its employees that pranks are not allowed. Realizing that they are trying to protect the image of the company in case something goes wrong. As employee, you should also be concerned that a joke could be taken the wrong way and alter the environment at work.
Whether you decide to be a prankster on April 1st or not, remember that so-called jokes at the expense of others designed to make them laugh –might not stop on April 2nd.