As my final post for the year, I chose to draw your attention to the celebration of humor and laughter. It happens annually on, you guessed it, April 1st. But where it happens may surprise you: The Black Sea port town of Odessa, in Ukraine.
Per an article in Aljazeera: “There is a saying in Odessa that this city’s sharp-witted sense of humor is the glue that binds its diverse population and carries it through tough times.
“Odessa humor is about our optimistic view of world, and that permeates into everything we do, from how we talk, to how we walk down the street,” said Boris Barsky, an Odessa actor and poet, whose comic troupe, “Maski-Show,” produced one of the most popular programs in the post-Soviet television world. He is now one of the principal actors at the House of Clowns, which is commonly known as the Embassy of Humor in Ukraine.”
Humorina is a festival and parade of jokes, costumes, tricks and silliness, making it the largest April Fools celebration in the world. According to the NYT: “it was born of an act of censorship; in 1972, Soviet authorities decided to take a televised improvisational comedy competition off the air. A team of comics from Odessa had been winning, and local Communist officials, chagrined by the cancellation, supported their proposal to hold a festival”, said Valery I. Khait, one of the festival’s founders.”
Sadly, the festival was canceled this year due to the tragic events in Ukraine. But the humorous spirit of Odessa residents remain unbroken, and I look forward to Humorina’s resurgence next year.
Let’s look ahead to 2016 with a heightened sense of humor and creativity!