Festivals and traditions

Abrëllsgeck!

Luxembourg's April fools tradition

01-abrellsgeck_sYou might not want to believe everything you've been told on a 1st of April...! Because, as everywhere else, we like pranking and playing practical jokes on this day in Luxembourg. That's the tradition of the Abrëllsgeck (April fools).

And the victims are plenty: members of the family, colleagues at work and other friends or acquaintances are being pranked. Children like to play practical jokes on their friends or teachers. And even the media participates and publishes wrong information every year - and manage to fool the complete country.

French king Charles XI is said to be at the origin of the Abrëllsgeck, although the origins remain rather obscure.

According to a legend, king Charles XI decided in 1564 to modify the calendar so that a year started on the 1st of January and not on the 1st of April, as had been the case. As the people had the habit of exchanging presents on the 1st of April, they continued to do so on this day. But, as this was not the 'real' beginning of the year anymore, the presents that were exchanged were not 'real' presents anymore - they were presents to fool people. From this day onwards legend has it, that people, big and small, started playing pranks on each other on the 1st of April.

The tradition is observed in many European countries: Luxembourg, France, Belgium, Germany, Netherlands, Italy, Great Britain, Scotland... From there it spread to the rest of the world, such as the United States, Canada, and even Japan, Russia and India.

In Luxembourg, right after having pranked a person, people shout 'Abrëllsgeck' or 'Abrëllswitz' (literally: April's joke) to reveal the April fools' prank.

(Article written by the editorial team of the portal www.luxembourg.lu)

  • Updated 30-03-2016