DAILY DIRT: April Fool’s Day celebrations differ around the world

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Daily Dirt for Monday, April 1, 2024

The world headquarters of Muddy River News is full of pranksters … Welcome to today’s three thoughts that make up Vol. 908 of The Daily Dirt.

1. Today’s the day many Americans enjoy pranking their family members and best friends, usually with some harmless but funny kind of joke. It’s April Fool’s Day!

But how does the rest of the world see this day? Here’s a glimpse:

England: The English are well known for their wit and dry humor, and some the best often comes out on April Fool’s Day. One of the best pranks came in 1957 when  broadcaster BBC reported a record spaghetti crop in Switzerland, even showing Swiss workers pulling noodles from the trees. 

Scotland: Oh, so one April Fools’ Day not enough? Historically, in Scotland, they stretch the festivities out over two days. First, there’s Hunt the Gowk Day, which actually isn’t as ominous as it sounds. “Gowk” is term for a type of bird, but is also slang for “fool,” and on this day, pranking Scots send unsuspecting gowks (the people, not the birds) on fool’s errands just to waste their time. If you don’t get gowked, there’s always an opportunity for humiliation the next day, which is “Tailie Day.” Tailie Day is for largely harmless derrière-related pranks, like pinning a tail on someone or sticking a sign on their back.

Brazil: April 1 is still the prank day of choice, and Braziliansthey cut straight to the chase by calling it “Dia das Mentiras,” or “Day of Lies.”

Spain: In one town, they mark April Fool’s Day by having a city-wide food fight, complete with military strategy and historical lore. The tradition is reportedly more than 200 years old and involves a mock military-style “takeover” of the town, where the new rulers get to make up strange laws that others have to abide by. If they don’t, they get “fined” and the money goes to charity.

Finland: In recent years, the police force in Finland decided to prank their Facebook followers by announcing that they were getting new uniforms that changed color in the sun, to make them more visible in traffic. People actually believed the police were going to don pink uniforms and patrol traffic. 

The Netherlands: The most familiar April Fool’s Day tradition is shouting, “1 april, kikker in je bil, die er nooit meer uit wil,” at your victim. That translates to “First of April, frog in your butt, that never wants to come out again.” Hmmm … Dutch humor, I guess.

Greece: If you manage to trick someone in Greece, it’s thought that their misfortune will bring you good luck, so there’s a real incentive to do some pranking. And if it rains, grab a bucket, because the water is said to have healing powers on this day. The Greek government also enjoys doling out the occasional joke, and in 1982 the state-controlled national radio network jokingly broadcast that pollution in Athens had reached emergency levels. The prank took a not-so-funny turn when residents began to flee the city because they’d taken the announcement seriously; the director of the network was later forced to resign — surprising, considering the good luck you’d think he’d have after fooling so many people.

2. In case you were wondering, the following ticket prices were the CHEAPEST available for last week’s first round of Opening Day games:

Top Three

  • Cubs at Rangers, $285: When you win a World Series, you’re allowed to jack the prices.
  • Nationals at Reds, $164: Everyone wants to see Elly De La Cruz.
  • Braves at Phillies, $147: That price did not include a Philly cheesesteak sandwich either.

Bottom Three

  • Pirates at Marlins, $13: And Miami was still not close to a sellout.
  • Guardians at A’s: No comment even needed for the disaster that is the Oakland franchise.
  • Brewers at Mets, $32: Kind of surprising to see Opening Day tickets that low in the Big Apple.

3. Remember when MTV and its videos were must-see TV?

That was a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away. 

Before MTV basically did away with playing music videos around 2005, the following were the most-played over the quarter of a century when there was actually music on “music television (MTV),” according to wror.com, which labeled the following as The Great Eight:

  • 1. “Thriller,” by Michael Jackson
  • 2. “Vogue,” by Madonna.
  • 3. “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” by Nirvana
  • 4. “Sledgehammer,” by Peter Gabriel
  • 5. “Walk This Way,” by Aerosmith/Run DMC
  • 6. “Sweet Child of Mine,” by Guns ‘N Roses
  • 7. “Sabotage,” by the Beastie Boys
  • 8. “Addicted to Love,” by Robert Palmer.

Steve Thought O’ The Day — I used to love that Robert Palmer video. Among the eight above, I would rank it no lower than No. 2.

Steve Eighinger writes daily for Muddy River News. His shoes are untied. April Fools!

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