April Fool's Day
April Fool’s Day occurs every year on April 1st. Also known as All Fool’s Day or Foolish Day, this is a day to play practical jokes and pranks on your friends and family. Although this is a day for fun, it is not a holiday, and so businesses and schools respect normal working hours.
Origins of April Fool's Day
A tradition that is celebrated in several countries, the origins of April Fool’s Day remain mysterious today, but there are a few events in history that may have played a role in establishing the celebration.
It is possible that April Fool’s Day is related to the festival of Hilaria in Ancient Rome, which took place at the end of March. In these celebrations, people would disguise themselves in masquerades, play games, and play practical jokes on others such as sending them on Fool’s Errands, a task that would have no purpose other than to deceive.
There is also a connection between April Fool's Day and the March/Vernal Equinox, which marks the arrival of spring. In the past, people thought that Mother Nature was fooling them with unpredictable weather.
April Fool's Day could also be related to the adoption of the Gregorian Calendar. In the year 1582, France officially changed their calendars from the Julian Calendar to the Gregorian Calendar. it is believed that the news of this change didn’t travel to everyone, and also some people weren’t too happy with the change, thus many continued to celebrate the new year at the end of March into April 1st, instead of on the date that marked the new year, January 1st.
These people became the target of many jokes and pranks, and others would begin to mock them when they saw them. The most popular one was that of the “April Fish”, where a person would have a fish taped onto their back to symbolize that they were a young and gullible person.
8 Famous Hoaxes That Are Just Too Good
The history of April Fool's Day is full of brilliant and ingenious hoaxes published by reputable sources, which is exactly they are able to fool so many people. The media, such as newspapers and TV channels often take part in practical jokes by reporting on fictional news stories, or advertising products that don’t exist. Famous brands also participate, often in ways that poke fun at themselves:
- In 1989 during a BBC Sports news broadcast, a fake fight could be seen breaking out behind the anchorman.
- More recently, in 2019 the popular fast food brand McDonald’s announced that they were releasing milkshake sauce pots for people to dip their fries in.
- Starbucks announced a drive-thru for dogs called Pupbucks.
This April Fool's Day keep your eyes open and see whether you can spot something fishy! And in the meantime here are some of the most famous April Fool's Day tricks that have ever been played:
Spaghetti on Trees
In 1957, the BBC aired a three-minute segment on their show Panorama about spaghetti trees and how a mild winter had led to an especially bountiful spaghetti crop. Many viewers believed the segment was real and some people even contacted the show to inquire about how they could possibly grow their own!
In 1985, Sports Illustrated published an article about a rookie pitcher named Sidd Finch who could throw a 168 mph fastball. The article was elaborate in its biography and storytelling of this fictitious sportsman, with outlandish claims such as him learning yoga in Tibet, wearing a hiking boot on only his right foot, etc.
The article ends with the line:
While the Met organization awaits his decision on April 1, Finch spends his non-pitching time communing with the sea and playing the French horn.
The article was later revealed to be an April Fools' Day prank but many people fell for it, contacting Sports Illustrated for more information about the player.
The Taco Liberty Bell
In 1996, Taco Bell announced in advertisements that it had bought the Liberty Bell and would be renaming it the "Taco Liberty Bell." The National Historic Park in Philadelphia where the bell is housed received many angry calls from people who believed the announcement was real.
The Left-Handed Whopper
Burger King also took part in April Fool's Day when in 1998 they published a full-page advertisement in USA Today announcing the creation of a "Left-Handed Whopper." Although just a hilarious prank, many people were unsure of how true it was, and so customers who requested the burger were told it was a joke and then given a regular Whopper.
In 2007, Google introduced on its website "Gmail Paper", with the tagline "You Click. We Stack. You Get", a service that would allow users to have their emails printed and shipped to them on actual paper. The webpage even included fictitious reviews of the service including one from fictitious Kevin S: "I've always felt uneasy about the whole internet thing. With the help of Gmail Paper, now I'm taking matters back into my own hands, literally.”.
The service was a prank, but many users were disappointed that it wasn't real, especially with the extent to which Google went to convince people that it was a genuine product.
Fantastic Family Fooling Fun (5 great ideas)
April Fool's Day is a great day for pranking your friends and family, but according to customs in some countries, the pranks you play must be done before midday, otherwise, you are the 'fool'. So make sure you plan them early!
In case you're looking for inspiration, here are a couple of ideas, but don't forget to shout 'April Fools' when they fall for them!:
1. The Whoopee Cushion
A prank as old as time, the whoopee cushion as we know it was designed and released to the market in 1932, although there are records of earlier pranks that similarly involved inflated cushions.
Place the whoopee cushion on a chair under the chair's cushion and just wait until someone sits on it to hear the result.
2. The Switcheroo
Take two objects that look the same and switch them! At its purest, a simple and harmless prank. For example, you could swap out the sugar in your sugar pot and replace it with salt. Wait till you see the look on your family/friends' faces when they take their first sip of coffee that morning!
3. Clock Confusion
Another simple prank, this one will get people's day off to an earlier start than they expect! The night before April Fool's Day wind your family member's clocks or watches forward an hour, and change the timezone on their phone while they're asleep. You can watch them rush around the next morning knowing that wherever they're heading they're going to be there an hour early!
4. Fake Creepie-crawlies
It's a common prank to use some kind of fake creatures to make someone jump, for example, a small plastic spider in the shower, or plastic bugs in someone's bed or bag.
5. Fake News
Ok, so everyone knows that fake news is a bad thing, but maybe sharing a little bit of disinformation is allowable on April Fool's day. You could tell an elaborate story and share it on social media. Announce a fake betrothal, or share an image of a fake tattoo. Perhaps tell your friends that their favorite TV show is getting an extra season.
Whatever trick you end up playing on your family or friends, remember to keep it harmless and fun. It's a prank and not a punishment after all. If you are subjected to a prank, be light-hearted and take it in good spirits. Either way, enjoy April Fool's Day!
April Fool's Day - Next years
Tuesday, 01 April 2025
Wednesday, 01 April 2026
Thursday, 01 April 2027