People have two missions on April Fool’s Day — to play a prank on someone else and to not fall victim to one. Gullibility is not a quality to advertise on April 1 of all days.
All jokes, fake stories, and pranks should be in good fun. People are expected to trick friends, colleagues, and relatives — and in some countries complete strangers, resulting in epic pranks — so most victims are not offended and just laugh along.
The tradition may have originated in France in the 16th century, when King Charles IX wanted to switch to the Gregorian calendar and make the New Year, which until then had begun on April 1, start on January 1 instead. Those who accepted the new calendar started making fun of the old one and the people who still followed it, and played jokes by sending people to run ridiculous errands.
Another theory is that April Fool’s Day comes from a popular Roman festival, Hilaria, which celebrated Cybele, or the “Great Mother of the Gods.” The occasion was marked with pranks and games that had no limits.
Whatever the true origin of the day, what doesn’t change is its purpose — to trick people and have fun doing it. How that’s done varies across the world.
To compile a list of countries that celebrate April Fool’s Day differently, 24/7 Wall St. consulted dozens of online travel guides and local travel blogs. The following list is a selection of 18 places that stood out.