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April fool's day in Germany

Do you know the expression: “jemanden in den April schicken” – literally: “to send someone to April”?

That doesn’t mean that otherwise wouldn’t start ‘automatically’.

Of course, like on every other day, the sun will also set on March 30 and rise again on April 1.

"In den April schicken" - "to send to April"

April 1 - vocabulary

But when we say, „Leon hat Anna in den April geschickt“, i.e „Leon sent Anna to April," we mean:

It is tricked. She is being misled.

So: ‘jemand hat einen Aprilscherz gemacht’ - someone made an April Fool's joke and Anna believed it.

Such an April Fool's joke can be a joke you tell or an active plot.

‘der Scherz’ or ‘der Witz’ – what’s the difference?

Both, Scherz and Witz can be translated as “joke. But is a Scherz really the same as a Witz? Not quite, although both can be very similar.

Der Witz

A "Witz" is usually a short, funny story that makes the other laugh.

For example:

Fritzchen tells his mum: "Imagine - yesterday our teacher sent Tim home because he hadn't washed himself." "And did it have any effect?" "Oh yes! Three girls and five boys hadn't washed themselves today!"

Learning german
Witz or Scherz?

Der Scherz

A Scherz can also be a funny remark – but it arises from the situation.

And: a Scherz can also be an action.

Either you exaggerate something – for example, you show yourself "infinitely relieved" with gestures (hand movements) when the break begins or that there is still a coffee.

Or you play a prank: you do something funny to deceive or trick someone else.

Scherz or Witz? German words explained

A Scherz is usually funny for the other one, too ... but when I play a prank (der Streich) on someone, it's usually mostly funny for myself.

April, April

Did you successfully send someone into April? Then you call as a resolution: "April, April".

What do I say on April 1?
"April, April" - it's April fool's day! ©CharLingua

Even if the joke really wasn't nice – for example, you swapped salt and sugar in the office – the other person mustn't be angry that day.

This is also, what makes the differnce between a lie or modern fake news and an "Aprilscherz":

The liar will try to keep you believeing the false story while an Aprilscherz will be uncoverd by the one who told it.

Seit wann gibt es Aprilscherze?

April Fools' jokes can be found in many countries. But when exactly this custom arose is not clear. They probably come from Germany or France.

There are several stories about the origin:

  • In the Middle Ages, where Germany is today, there was not just one currency, but many different ones. For example, many cities and monasteries even had their own currencies. That's why it sounded like a good idea that Emperor Charles V wanted to regulate coinage at a Reichstag on April 1, 1530. Numerous speculators invested a great deal of money in order to achieve large profits. But then this 'coin day' was cancelled. The speculators lost their money and were laughed at as "fools".

  • In France, there was a calendar reform: in 1564, Charles IX changed the turn of the year from April 1 to January 1. Unfortunately, there was neither radio nor internet, so not everyone in France had heard of it. Some people had an idea: they sent out invitations for a New Year's celebration on April 1, just like every year. Of course, there was no celebration: the guests had been “in den April geschickt”..

April weather

Even the weather in April sometimes seems like a bad joke:

One day the sun is shining, it's really warm and almost summery – and the next day it's suddenly freezing cold and it's snowing again.

This is the April weather:

„April, April, der macht, was er will“. ("April, April, does what he feels like".)

So maybe the weather is simply the model for April Fools' jokes?

Is April 1st a public holiday?

It is often said that April 1st is a public holiday.

If you search on google, you will actually find results in which this is claimed!

Learning German, idiomatic expressions
Is April 1 a public holiday? ©CharLingua

But unfortunately, April 1st is a normal working day. If someone tells you otherwise, it's just ... exactly, an April Fool's joke.

5 typical April Fools' Jokes:

  • If it's warm: As the weather is so changeable, most people actually believe it when they go to the window that day and exclaim in surprise, "Oh no, it's snowing!" If it actually snows ... then you'll be happy "that it's supposed to be 25°C tomorrow!".“

  • You can try sticking a piece of paper on the back of someon that says something funny – for example, "Pat me on the shoulder!" The person concerned will wonder very much why everyone else suddenly comes up laughing and pats him on the shoulder.

April fool's day in Germany
Aprilscherz! ©CharLingua

  • Not so nice: You can also add salt to the sugar shaker – or vice versa.

  • With a little food coloring you can color the milk. Astonished faces are guaranteed in this way!

  • You can stick a Post-It under the mouse of a colleague. How will the colleague react if the mouse suddenly stops working?

German Tradition
"Why is the computer mouse not working???"

Have you ever sent someone to April?


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