Soon, April Fool's Day will be upon us, and everybody will be covering your stapler in glue. When it comes to prankster holiday sin, though, our modern version pales a little compared with some of the others produced throughout history. Humans, it seems, have always enjoyed playing jokes on one another, though perhaps it's a blessing that April 1 doesn't necessarily involve showing your genitals to people from a river boat.
Some historical figures were particularly prone to pranks, though it's not entirely clear that they were sane at the time. Dr. Samuel Collins, writing in 1671, wrote of Ivan the Terrible that he had a strange sense of humor: apparently he once tried to get his servants to fill a hat with fleas, and after seeing women laugh at one of his pranks at a festival, he demanded that they be stripped naked and then threw huge bowls of peas at them. The problem with a leader who's inclined to pranks is that you rather have to laugh along with them; Henry VIII apparently surprised his first wife Katherine of Aragon by jumping into her room dressed as Robin Hood, and was so astonished when she was terrified and confused that he threw her a giant party to say sorry. What he would have made of April Fools Day doesn't bear thinking about. Lots of sinister jokes about imminent beheadings, probably.
Here's a brief history of mischievous holidays.