April 1st is April Fool’s Day but more importantly is Reading is Funny Day! Today is a day dedicated to showing young readers that books can be just as fun as television or other forms of entertainment. This day specifically focuses on books that are funny such as joke books, comedy books, or books of riddles. There are a wide variety of ways to celebrate this holiday and get your child involved. You can find riddles online and you and your child can see who is the best at riddles. You can also take a trip to your local library to find some books to make you laugh. Another idea is to spend the day making your own funny stories and writing them down. The main purpose of the day is to introduce children to the joys of reading and maybe even encourage them to read everyday of the year.
History of the Joke
We’ve all told a joke once or twice in our lives, whether that be a knock-knock joke, a riddle, or a yo mama joke. Very few of us ever consider where exactly these jokes come from however, and why exactly we love to ask why the chicken crossed the road. Any joke documented throughout history has been an accident rather than something that was done on purpose. Most printed versions of jokes were done with the intention that they would be thrown away after used. Many early jokes were composed of jokes about human behavior and were not meant to be valued and saved for future generations. The oldest saved joke is from 1900 BC and is an ancient Sumerian proverb. The second oldest joke is from the ancient Egyptians in 1600 BC. This joke was found written on papyrus and is believed to be a dig at the current pharaoh. The joke is as follows: “How do you entertain a bored pharaoh? You sail a boatload of young women dressed only in fishing nets down the Nile and urge the pharaoh to go catch a fish”.
The earliest collection of jokes was created in the 4th or 5th century AD. Many of these jokes are ones we still use today, such as the absent minded professor and people with bad breath. This book was intended to be read and then repeated when the opportunity arises. When the printing press was created in the 15th century, the joke book was one the first books printed along with the Bible. One joke book, published in 1470, was so popular that there were almost 20 editions of the book created in the 15th century alone. The practice of using cartoons in joke books was first introduced in the 19th century. An increase in global literacy during this time lead to an increase in purchasing joke books across the globe. The joke book still remains a very popular book in print to this day. The internet has allowed for pages and pages of jokes to be created and shared with the world. Jokes can be read for entertainment or used to find new jokes to entertain friends. Today is a day to introduce your child to the joy a joke book and bring and maybe the joy books as a whole can bring.