April 1 is a semi-official holiday in the city of my birth, Odessa, Ukraine. Humorina, as it is known has been celebrated since the 70s. The first few Humorinas were actually pretty funny and sophisticated, punctuated with elaborate pranks. It was a bit on the downswing by the time I remember it: it is very hard to come up with original Fool’s Day jokes.
In later years Humorina became a tourist event, culminating in a non-organized costumed “parade” and vigorous displays of public drunkenness. Odessa is still widely renowned as a capital of humor, but Humorina is just embarrassing these days.
What is interesting, is that April 1st is becoming commercialized: here’s a garish display that some cell phone company company put up in Moscow.
Now that Soviet holidays are not celebrated anymore, non-Soviet holidays are more important than ever, thus more activity on April 1st. But as with everything, many people take it upon themselves to just get drunk and behave in most unappropriated manner. Take St. Patrick’s day, for instance. It’s now celebrated in Moscow. Take a look at these pictures of Muscovites parading in kilts and faux-Irish garb of all kinds, flashing their privates in public and getting drunk in the streets. It’d be funny, but for some reason isn’t. It all smacks of an American Wapanese and other allied culture copiers.