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April Fool’s Day is a day in countries all over the world when it’s acceptable– even encouraged and expected– to be terrible to everyone around you. But if pranks are your thing, there’s no reason to be limited to just one day a year. Here are some other holidays that involve customary pranking.
Oskudagur (Ash Wednesday), Iceland. In Iceland, Ash Wednesday traditions involve small bags filled with ash, called Oskupokar, which people try to secretly tie to each other’s clothing.
Halloween, United States. While the traditional call of “Trick or Treat” is mostly just an empty threat, the occasional retribution for denying children candy– typically in the form of toilet papered yards or egged houses– is not unheard of.
Walpurgisnacht, Germany. April 30th in Germany bears a strong resemblance to October 31st in the United States. To celebrate Walpurgis Night, people gather to tell ghost stories, celebrate the supernatural, and play tricks on each other.
The Yule Goat, Scandinavia. In a tradition similar to wassailing, men in costumes would spend either Christmas or the holiday of Epiphany going door to door singing, putting on plays, and pulling pranks, sometimes accompanied by the “Yule Goat,” a “rowdy and sometimes scary creature demanding gifts.” In older customs, a common prank would be to put the goat in a neighbor or family member’s front yard without them noticing.
High School Graduation, Norway. While not exactly “pranks,” a young person’s graduation in Norway is based around traditions of public drunkenness and disturbances. The tradition of russefeiring involves groups of students wearing brightly colored outfits and buying or renting cars, buses, or other large vehicles to house their near-month-long partying.
Thanksgiving, United States. While Thanksgiving started off in New England as a quiet, family-centric holiday, and has mostly returned to that tradition, there was a period in New York, Philadelphia, and beyond, following the American Revolution when that was not at all the case. Men would ramble through the streets, often in drag, blackface, or other outlandish (sometimes satirical) costumes, begging for coins and food. If they were denied, they would act out, either with small pranks or larger acts of (usually drunken) rowdiness.
April Fool’s Day, Portugal. The Portuguese version of the holiday is celebrated on the Sunday or Monday before Lent, and focuses on one single prank: throwing flour on people.
Holi Festival, India. This festival takes place in March and is the celebration of various mythological legends. One of these legends is that of the troublesome Ogress Dhundhi, who was chased away by children’s pranks. Today, children still play tricks to honor the story.