愚人节 – 만우절 – April Fool’s Day

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你们好吗?今天四月一日就是“愚人节”,也是我十八岁的生日! (请祝我成功) Today is April Fool’s day, and it’s also my 18th birthday! [not a prank哈哈!] So I didn’t want to miss the opportunity for a special post.

Originally I wrote a short introduction about today’s post and planned to complete the post after returning from my birthday celebrations (I will leave it below if you would like to read it). However after a two-day pause, I can now continue to explain a bit about April Fool’s day and how it is celebrated in Korea.

Something that has always confused me was how today got its name, so I guess it makes sense to clear that up. As expected, there are varying accounts regarding the origin of this infamous holiday, some associating it with the New Year festivities of Roman, Hindu and Pagan traditions. April Fool’s day has featured in entertainment and literature which dates back as early as 1392 with its reference in Chaucer’s ‘Canterbury Tales’ (coincidentally we analysed sections of this text last year). The most common story behind April Fools is that April 1st was declared by Pagans as the start of the new year due to the beginning of Spring (which brings new life to nature), however this was ridiculed by Christians and non-pagans who called them ‘fools’. This version is usually alluded to in contemporary media (such as the ever factual ‘The Simpsons’) and has been accepted as the truth. Now the holiday has become a day where people get pranked and called ‘fools’. I don’t usually get pranked myself, but when I was younger I did question whether the nurse was joking about my date of birth…as I’m sure you would too😋

When I started this blog I noted that my general interests span from across East Asia (fashion, entertainment, culture etc), which is why today’s post will be focused on Korea instead of China. Moreover when I was reading up on how ‘April Fool’s day’ (愚人 ‘yu ren jie’ in Chinese) is celebrated, I noticed that Korean students were getting the most recognition for their pranking efforts in comparison to other East Asian countries like Japan and China. You may agree that this is quite fair after you read what they’ve gotten up to…

April Fool’s day has become increasingly popular with young people in Korea. If anyone is familiar with the rigorous schooling students receive in East Asia, it makes sense why students will take April Fools as an excuse to de-stress. For instance in gender-segregated classes in South Korea, boys and girls have swapped classrooms to confuse teachers and have even swapped uniforms. However Westerners may see some of their pranks as a bit extreme. Like the prank where students fake their death as they pretend that exam stress has driven them to suicide. Bear in mind that the following photos are just pranks:

korean suicide prank

As already mentioned, education in countries like China and of course Korea is particularly strenuous, and so students use this to their advantage by planning many classroom based pranks. A prominent example is when Korean students transport their classrooms to a different location to confuse their teachers. They also rearrange classroom furniture, wear their uniform backwards, or even model ‘invisible students’ in front of their desks…to freak people out:

korean class loc prankkorean backwards clothes prank

Not only do the students celebrate April Fools day, but the teachers have also been known to prank students! In the first picture below you will see a teacher casually laying on his side on his desk as he reads the class textbook, as if to match the efforts of his students who are sitting on the floor with their desks faced sideways. The second shows a teacher writing sideways on the chalkboard.

korean teacher prank

All in all I’d say that the Korean students deserve an A+ for creativity, but don’t think such pranks would be as well received in the West.

I thought I’d also show you a few videos of April Fools day being celebrated in Korea by non-students (not sure if that’s a word yet). In the first video a Korean teacher explains popular celebrations and explains how the Korean name for ‘April Fools’ is taken from Chinese characters! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8PuBZrMkGdM The second is a light-hearted interview of the American/Korean singer ‘Eric Nam’ interviewing himself https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aUwV_NUMBeM Lastly, heres a short clip of a group of Korean second graders getting pranked by their teacher (cute but evil) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Py48smOPI0 .

Have you been pranked, or pranked anyone for April Fools day? I’m quite good at prank phone-calls and have even pranked someone using Mandarin…but this isn’t restricted to April 1st 

If you decide to prank someone on April 1st, good luck 世界。

从欣妍 – From Xinyan.

P.s. The Korean prank pictures are taken from “Drama Fever” and ‘’Soompi” 🙂

Original post: Today’s post is going to be in a slightly different format because I plan to, in effect write it later in the evening when I return home. My plans for today do involve some orientalism (not an actual word btw) so I could perhaps share some photos later on or write a mini review of the restaurant we’ll be going to. However if anyone still remembers, I originally noted that my general interests span from across East Asia, so if you check back later I can tell you a bit about how ‘April Fool’s day’ is celebrated in Korea. April Fool’s day is a typically Western holiday/festival, which is why it is not largely celebrated by the Chinese. 如今在亚洲大多数的年轻人喜欢愚人节! Most of the young people in Asia enjoy April Fool’s day but it isn’t really celebrated by the older generation (unless that’s a prank in itself). When I was reading up on how pranks are enacted by these ‘young people’, I must say that Korean students take the prize for putting in the most effort! As I said, I will hopefully have more for you to read about later in the evening, but till then good luck avoiding/planning pranks! 从欣妍 – From Xinyan.

Exhale.

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