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
A tradition that is celebrated in several countries, the origins of April Fool’s Day remain mysterious until today, and it is unlikely that we will ever know its true history. However, there are a few theories about where this day comes from:
A change in calendars:
In the year of 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 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 to their backs, to symbolize that they were a young and gullible person.
An Ancient Roman tradition:
Some argue that April Fool’s comes from the festival of Hilaria in Ancient Rome, which took place at the end of March. In these celebrations, people would disguise themselves, 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.
The changing of seasons:
Others believe that this day originates in the Vernal Equinox, which would mark the arrival of spring. In those days, people thought that Mother Nature was fooling them, with the unpredictable weather that they would receive.
April Fool’s in recent times
April Fool’s remains quite a popular day still, with people enjoying taking part in it for a good laugh during this happy day.
Even the media, such as newspapers and TV and brands take part in the practical jokes, by reporting fictional news, or advertising products that don’t exist. For example, 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, and Starbucks announced a drive-thru for dogs.
In 1997 the Museum of Hoaxes was created in San Diego, California, to depict everything to do with deceit, pranking and joking throughout history. It has a Gallery of April Fool’s Hoaxes dedicated to honoring the jokes played on this day.
People like to celebrate this day by pranking their friends and family, some popular pranks involve children telling their friends their shoelaces are untied, changing the sugar for salt in the sugar pot and even putting vaseline on doorknobs, among others. It is common to shout “April Fool!” at the person who has just been pranked.