Reverend Albright Banibensu, Vice President, Ghana Psychology Association, has cautioned against negative pranks, saying, they can cause cardiac arrests.
“Persons with underlying anxiety disorders can have cardiac arrests out of pranks so we have to be careful with this April fool pranks,” he told the Ghana News Agency in an interview.
He said negative pranks could also destroy trust and break relationships whilst positive tomfooleries brought joy and laughter.
Rev. Benibensu said it was, therefore, important that opinion leaders, especially pastors and psychologists created awareness on “April Fool Day” for “positive results.”
Pastor Theophilus Henry Quamson, Holy Ghost Worship Centre, Assemblies of God, Ashaiman, said though pranking was always a simple joke, “Over the years, people were overdoing it and making their friends and loved ones travel distances and do the unthinkable.”
He said such jokes could damage relationships and advised the youth to be mindful of how they marked the Day.
“April Fool’s Day,” is a day set aside annually when people prank on their friends, families and neighbours for fun.
The Day is marked on April 1, globally, and said to have started on April 1, 1700, when English pranksters commenced popularising the annual tradition of April Fools’ Day by playing practical jokes on each other.
Though the Day has been celebrated for several centuries by different cultures, its exact origin remains a mystery.
According to www.history .com, some historians speculated that April Fools’ Day dates back to 1582, when France switched from the Julian calendar to the Gregorian calendar, as called for by the Council of Trent in 1563.
People, who were slow to get the news or failed to recognise that the start of the New Year had moved to January 1, and continued to celebrate it during the last week of March, through April 1, became the victims of jokes and hoaxes.
These pranks included; having paper fish placed on their backs and being referred to as poisson d’avril (April fish), said to symbolise a young, “easily hooked” fish and a gullible person.
“April Fools’” Day spread throughout Britain during the 18th century and in Scotland, the tradition became a two-day event, starting with “hunting the gowk,” in which people were sent on phony errands (gowk is a word for cuckoo bird, a symbol for fool) and followed by Tailie Day, which involved pranks played on people’s derrieres, such as pinning fake tails or “kick me” signs on them.
Ghanaians over the years caught up with the fun and every first day of the fourth month of the year, friends, family members, work colleagues and neighbours test the gullibility of each other.
On April 2, 2019, a group of personnel from the Ghana National Fire Service in the Nkoranza Municipality reportedly assaulted some Journalists at a Radio station in Nkroansa, after a distress call the Service received from the Radio Station turned out to be an “April Fool Day” prank.