April Fool’s Day (만우절) in Korea

I remember reading about how intense of jokes Koreans pulled on April Fool’s Day, but I got to experience it myself today! While I witnessed none of the too-extreme kind (the kind where students pretend that they committed suicide for example…) I definitely did more here in Korea than I would have done in America. (Quantity over Quality)

Here are some of the ones I remember at the moment:

1. For background, at my Korean high school (and most, but not all Korean high schools), students have to turn in their phones at the beginning of the day, and our homeroom teacher takes the bag of phones to the teacher office. Therefore, my class (Jin-진반) and the class next door (Sun-선반) decided to have every phone alarm ring at 9:30, during first period. Everything was quiet, until suddenly the cacophony of phones from down the hall was heard. Everyone burst out laughing, we could hear 선반 cracking up too, which just made us laugh even harder. At the end of the period however, the teacher who had been in the office at the time made an announcement that said, “진반 and 선반 kids will not only have 3 points docked, but also will have their phones be confiscated for one month.” Everyone started freaking out, because the joke wasn’t serious enough for that kind of punishment, and they thought the teacher was actually angry, but he was just joking too (we think).

2. My friend brought in fake bangs, that we all took turns putting on. Someone thought it’d be funny to tell our homeroom teacher (주부리 <3) that they tried to cut my bangs, but it went terribly wrong, so we would need to leave school to go to a hair salon as soon as possible. Haha, it worked for about a minute-he said that it didn’t look so bad, but one girl from our class, who wasn’t in on the joke, came over and said, “Ahh the fake bangs from earlier,” and with that, our teacher lifted up my bangs and just started cracking up.

3. At my school, it’s a rule to have shoulder-length hair or shorter, but since I’m an exchange student (I follow all of the other rules, but cutting my hair is a bit extreme so I’ve been exempt) I have the longest hair in the school. And if you put all of that long hair in front of my face, I look like something out of a horror movie. The friend who brought the fake bangs and I waited outside of the bathroom for our other friends inside, and I just stood there with my hair in my face. The first girl who walked out almost had a heart attack, and said, “언니~~~!!!! Why are you being like this  ㅠㅠ so scary ㅠㅠㅠ” and the other girls, after they stopped laughing told me to do it to our Chemistry teacher.

We had this whole thing planned: I would hide behind the teacher podium thing (I’ve been in Korea for 7 months now-my English isn’t as good as it used to be), and just pop up when she walks to it. And I did exactly that, but she just smiled at me, as if to say, “Hello there.” She jokingly said that that’s what we all look like to her everyday, so she wasn’t scared by it.

4. While we walked to lunch, our Ethics teacher (who has this deadpan sense of humor that is hilarious because he delivers his jokes with such a straight face) walks up behind us and says, “I hear it’s chicken today,” and I don’t know if you know, but Korean high schoolers are serious about good food, and chicken is good food. So normally that kind of mean joke would get a response, but we had all just looked at the menu seconds before and so we all just kind of stared at him, confused, until we realized it was an April Fool’s joke. He kind of ran away after that. Ah, he’s one of my favorites.

5. Sixth period we had our homeroom teacher, who teaches math. He was also the homeroom teacher of last year’s 2nd year 진반, the now 3rd year 진반 (the class I was in before winter break). We decided to have half of the 3rd year 진반 and half of our class switch. Jokes aside, it was really nice having my old classmates beside me again in the same classroom-I’ve missed them so much!! Anyway, they pretended to sleep when our teacher walked in, and he was just really confused as to why everyone was suddenly tired. He realized what was going on really quickly though, and we just spent the next hour not learning math, but listening to life stories and lessons from our teacher. ❤ He also planned for us to have a huge samgyupsal party, which I am totally down for.

6. One of my third year friends got me good by saying, “After the 수능 (Korean SAT) is over, I might go to America-New York!” and while I’m freaking out, she brings out the, “April fool’s!!” T.T

All in all, the jokes themselves weren’t even that funny, but I think it was because I was with such great company that made today so much fun.

My teachers from fall semester

My teachers from fall semester as caricatures. 


6 thoughts on “April Fool’s Day (만우절) in Korea

      • Songdo is still being built-so a lot of future cool things to do, but it still has really fun places. There’s Central Park, which is gorgeous, Dream City and NC Cube/Canal Walk for shopping, and underneath the Prugio and Hillstate apartments there are a bunch of boutiques, cafes, and restaurants. Also, if you’re a fan of meat, there are a bunch of meat places in Songdo-it’s great. I’m really jealous because you’re going to have a lot of fun! Let me now if you have any more specific questions ^^

  1. Yes! Jaws is a really popular Korean street food chain, and there’s one right by Poonglim 2단지 apartments. That’s actually right where what I call “The Civilization” begins (because other parts of Songdo feel unpopulated), so there are a lot of good cafes, street food (닭강정is a must). I’m actually going to upload a Songdo blog, but you’ll probably be there by the time it goes up. 🙂 Have fun!

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