April Fools' Day... Is It All In Good Fun?

Submitted April 1, 2014

fish tail
Source: sxc.hu/levisz

Should you or I participate in April Fools’ Day?

If we want to participate in something, it is a good idea to be informed about what you are doing. The origin of April Fools’ Day is obscure. In some French speaking countries, it is called “Poisson d’avril” or April Fish; the custom is to secretly tape a fish on another person’s back.

Some date it back to 1582 when Pope Gregory ordered a new calendar (the Gregorian calendar) and changed New Year’s Day to January 1. Some did not learn of the change or refused to accept the new calendar and continued to celebrate the New Year on April 1. Others made fun of the traditionalists by sending them on “fool’s errands” or playing tricks on them.

Still others trace the origins back to 536 BC, to a festival called Sizdah Bedar where jokes are played on the 13 th day of the Persian New Year, which falls on April 1 or 2. This is one of the oldest pranking/lying celebrations in the world today. It may relate to the events revolving around the Purim festival when the Jews were to be annihilated, but instead the reverse was true and the Persians were killed.

Lies and their consequences

Many of the modern ways of celebrating April Fools’ Day involve playing pranks on someone else, or trying to get them to believe ridiculous things. Of course in the process of getting someone to believe this outrageous story, a lie or many lies have to be told. We, as those that think vertically, know that telling a lie is something that we are not to do, (Exodus:20:16). When we tell a lie, not only are we breaking one of God’s commandments, but we are also discrediting ourselves.

Proverb 26:28 tells us that “a lying tongue hates those it hurts.” Those who keep it may not intend to hurt another person with their April Fools’ joke, but often the victim is hurt emotionally or mentally, if not physically by the intended joke. In all that we do we should aim to be kind, encouraging, and uplifting to those that are our friends and neighbors.

Not only do we hurt our friends through lying, but we hurt ourselves. Proverbs:12:19 tells us that lying causes our reputation to be discredited; we lose all honor and gain contempt and disgrace. We cannot be trusted.  But if we speak the truth, our credibility is raised; our reputation for doing good things and being honest is established and will prevail. We can be trusted and with that trust, good things will come to us forever.

All in fun… or is it?

You have no doubt heard it said that “fun is fun if it is fun tomorrow.” Participating in an April Fools’ joke or prank may appear to be amusing, but in the long run the fun is short lived. Tomorrow, your friend may not want to talk with you because you embarrassed him in front of his peers. Tomorrow, you may not want to show up at work because you believed that foolish story of your co-workers.

There are other ways to have fun that bring prolonged benefits. Those benefits may be memories to share and cherish for a life time. Check out our Vertical Thought article, “Just What Do You Mean FUN ” by Randy Stiver to learn how to determine what is the true definition of fun.

Blog posts do not undergo review by the doctrinal review team of the United Church of God. This post represents the personal opinion of the author and should not be considered the official stance of the United Church of God. If you have any questions or concerns please direct them to webmaster@ucg.org.

Olumide Oyetoke

Olumide Oyetoke's picture

Nice article Gayle,
The bible condemns deceit in the form of 'play/joke'

Like a madman who throws firebrands, arrows, and death,
Is the man who deceives his neighbor,
And says, "I was only joking!" Proverbs:26:18-19


KylieLockwood's picture

Nice blog

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