April Fools' Day!

The first day of April usually hosts a day of practical joking and foolery around the world for friends, family, classmates and colleagues– but why is this the case? We find out its origins and discover some of the best played pranks in the world!

The Story behind the Day

Despite many attempts to explain the reasoning behind April Fools’ Day, there hasn’t been a definitive answer! These have ranged to the date of the New Year of the Julian calendar changing from the 1st of April to people’s disbelief to a jester being King for a day during the reign of Constantine.

How is this day celebrated? 

In the UK, South Africa, New Zealand and Australia, trickery usually takes place before noon – whoever pranks someone afterwards is known as the April fool themselves. This is why the “April Fools” version of UK newspapers is only printed for the morning’s circulation.

In France, the day’s alternative name is Poisson D’Avril – literally translating to April Fish – where people try to attach paper fish to others’ backs without being noticed!

Italy’s version is Pesce d'aprile – April’s Fish, where the name applies to any prank played that day.

In Scotland, this day is known as “Hunt-the-Gowk-Day”, Gowk being Scots for a foolish person or cuckoo, whereby messages containing the lines:

"Dinna laugh, dinna smile. Hunt the gowk another mile" are sent to many people at a time.

Popular Past Pranks

In 1998, the fast food chain Burger King announced the introduction of a new Left Handed Whopper, where the condiments of its burger would fall out on the right hand side.

NASA creating an article on their website claiming to have discovered water on Mars, when in fact it turned out to be a glass of water on a Mars bar!

In New Zealand, the radio station The Edge’s Morning Madhouse enlisted the help of the Prime Minister announcing a ban on all cell phones. Many angry callers rang in to complain!

In the UK, Panorama ran a documentary about Spaghetti growing trees in Switzerland, where footage was shown of people harvesting this “fruit”. Apparently, this was really filmed in St Albans!

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