As a Life-Cycle Celebrant, I try to take advantage of every opportunity to mark special days—whether they are part of my own cultural tradition, or not. I’m always happy, for instance to enjoy every “New Year” that comes my way, be Lunar, Persian or Jewish. Yet, I’d prefer to let one “holiday” slide right by, without notice—April Fools’ Day.
According to the History Channel’s website, April Fools’ Day started in 1700 with English pranksters playing practical jokes on each other. There are other theories—that April Fools’ is tied to the Vernal Equinox or that it originated from the transition from the Julian to the Gregorian calendar in the 16th Century.
As a youngster, I always felt awkward, shy and “different” than my classmates. Being raised in a non-traditional family in a very traditional part of America yielded more teasing than I’d like to remember. As a gawky youngster, I felt the brunt of some well-worn teasing schemes among classmates. Without exaggerating the case, I do think that in an age where so many kids are bullied “In Real Life” or online we don’t need a sanctioned holiday for trickery. So my alternative for practical jokes and surprises is this: Why don’t we convert April Fools’ Day to a day of random kindnesses? Isn’t it as easy to plan a happy surprise for a friend, colleague, or neighbor as it is to organize an unpleasant one? It could be as simple as an unexpected cup of coffee for a work colleague to a gift card for one’s postal worker. The opportunities for doing something nice are literally unlimited. And we’d all walk away feeling good about ourselves and each other.