April Fools’ Day in Argentina

"The first of April is the day we remember what we are the other 364 days of the year." – Mark Twain

April Fools' Day by Community Friend, on Flickr [used under Creative Commons license]Today, April 1st, marks exactly one month to the day that I landed in Argentina, and that, my friends, is no joke. I must admit, however, that the thought of publishing a phony blog entry did cross my mind…something to the effect of, "I've had it up to here with these mate-swilling, asado-eating, soccer-watching Argentines, and I'm coming home on the very next flight out of Buenos Aires," but I figured that would be a pretty transparent hoax. You're all smarter than that. Instead, I decided I would tell you all about how April Fools' Day is celebrated here in Argentina.

The only trouble is, it's not.

But that statement in and of itself is a tad misleading. As it turns out, there is a version of April Fools' Day celebrated in Latin America and Spain. Known as El Día de los Inocentes, the holiday is observed on December 28th rather than April 1st.

"Dia de los Santos Inocentes – Day of the Holy Innocents is a religious holiday named in honor of the young children who were slaughtered by order of King Herod around the time of Jesus' birth. These young victims were called Santos Inocentes or 'Holy Innocents' because they were too young and innocent to have committed any sins. Although the feast remains on the Catholic Liturgical calendar, today the religious aspect has been almost forgotten…" [1]

In the Middle Ages, people decided to lighten things up a bit. They took to commemorating this rather somber event through the use of humor and practical jokes, and it seems the tradition stuck. Silly pranks are the order of the day for El Día de los Inocentes, just as they are on April Fools' Day.

Newspapers and other news outlets have joined in on the fun by reporting bogus stories on El Día de los Inocentes. A few years ago, the Argentine newspaper Clarín published a front-page story with the headline "Incendio en la Rosada." ("Fire at the Casa Rosada" [La Casa Rosada or "The Pink House" is the Argentine equivalent of the White House]) [2]

It would appear that down here in Argentina I'm relatively safe from practical jokes, at least for the next nine months. However, for those of you in April-Fools'-celebrating territory looking for some inspiration or if you’re simply in need of a good chuckle, check out the The Top 100 April Fool's Day Hoaxes of All Time. There are some pretty funny ones on the list. My personal favorite was #4: The Taco Liberty Bell.

So, tell me, have you ever pulled an April Fools' Day prank or worse yet, been the butt of one?

[Photo credit: Community Friend]
[Sources: [1] About.com: Spanish Food, [2] Diario Uno]

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...