April Fools’ Day, known as ‘Pryma Aprylis’ in Poland is really a special day with a long tradition. Even mass media have played pranks on Polish people since the television was made available here. The day is especially loved by children.
The tradition of the day in Poland dates back to at least 13th century but it got really popular only in the 17th century. Back then in Poland people would have very strange ideas about how to celebrate the day e.g. they would offer to their guests dumplings stuffed with sawdusts or coffee made with clay. Letters were sent with news which were 100% invention, strange presents were given or just a card with ”Prima aprilis” written on it was sent.
Two years ago, for example, Poles were informed by the media some scenes of the famous film Star Wars were going to be shot in Poland.
The day is popular with children in Poland . They love to dress up on the day and many schools allow their pupils to come to school in costumes and fancy dresses. It seems like a carnaval. Students love it when they can say to their teachers their clothes are dirty or have some tear in them.
Apart from 1st April there was another date associated with playing practical jokes in Poland, in some Polish regions it was 12th March when the custom of Gregorians ( st Gregory the Great was a pope and the patron of elementary schools) was celebrated. The custom started in the 15th century and was taken from Alsace. Once the school year started on that day and it was time for students to enjoy themselves, have a big feast together with their teachers. After a school mass they would participate in a parade all dressed up and they would collect money, eggs, dry fruit , pieces of chocolate or sausage. On the day they played jokes on their teachers, too.