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No one is exactly sure who started the tradition of April Fool’s Day, though if you’re looking for historical reference, Chaucer did reference a springtime day of good-hearted joshing in The Nun’s Priest’s Tale around 1400.
Pranks have long been part of the day in many cultures. Rather than malicious in intent, they serve to improve the relationship between the prankster and the recipient. Some sociologists say that pranks are a way to maintain social and cultural ties, and should be seen as flattering—you are being made part of the group when you sit on that whoopee cushion!
So if someone puts salt in your coffee or hides your cell phone, just think of it as an act of affection…and start plotting your revenge for when they least expect it. [New York Times]