Yorkshire Times
A Voice of the Free Press
Jan Harris
Deputy Group Editor
1:00 AM 1st April 2024

April Fools' Day Is TODAY!

Do you love it or hate it? April Fools' Day is TODAY?

April Fools' Day is classed as one of the most light-hearted days in the calendar year. It has been celebrated by different cultures for several centuries, but its exact origin remains a mystery, but do you love it or hate it?

The day really isn’t funny for the person who gets fooled and also it encourages people to tell lies.

What is it?

Image by Alexa from Pixabay
Image by Alexa from Pixabay
April Fools' Day (or All Fools' Day) is not a public holiday but is observed throughout the Western world and has been a popular tradition since the 19th century.

It is a day for people to play harmless jokes or pranks on their friends and colleagues by getting them to look for things that don't exist, sending someone on a 'fool's errand' or trying to get them to believe ridiculous things and then shout 'April Fool'.

But beware as if the joke is after midday then the person playing the joke becomes the 'April Fool'.

Some famous people born on 1 April

1578: William Harvey, English physician and academic (d. 1657)
1815: Otto von Bismarck, German lawyer and politician (d. 1898)
1883: Lon Chaney, American actor, director and screenwriter (d. 1930)
1920: Toshiro Mifune, Chinese-Japanese actor and producer (d. 1997)
1929: Milan Kundera, Czech-French author, poet and playwright
1932: Debbie Reynolds, American actress, singer and dancer
1939: Rudolph Isley, American singer-songwriter (The Isley Brothers)
1939: Ali MacGraw, American actress
1942: Annie Nightingale, English radio host
1946: Ronnie Lane, English bass player, songwriter and producer (d. 1997)
1946: Arrigo Sacchi, Italian footballer, coach and manager
1948: Jimmy Cliff, Jamaican singer and actor
1949: Gil Scott-Heron, American singer-songwriter and author (d. 2011)
1953: Barry Sonnenfeld, American director and producer
1957: David Gower, English cricketer and sportscaster
1961: Susan Boyle, Scottish singer
1962: Phillip Schofield, English television host
1966: Chris Evans, English radio and television host
1969: Dean Windass, English footballer and manager
1971: Method Man, American rapper, producer and actor (Wu-Tang Clan)
1976: Clarence Seedorf, Dutch-Brazilian footballer and manager
1980: Bijou Phillips, American actress
1985: Beth Tweddle, English gymnast
1986: Kid Ink, American rapper
1994: Ella Eyre, English singer-songwriter

History of April Fools' Day

Some historians think it is related to the change in the seasons while others think it is to do with the change in the calendar, dating back to 1582 when France switched from the Julian calendar to the Gregorian calendar.

People who were slow to get the news that the new year had moved to 1 January and continued to celebrate at the end of March into April were the butt of jokes and hoaxes.

April Fools' Day has also been linked to ancient Roman festivals which involved people dressing up in disguises.

Another speculation is that 1 April is connected to the first day of spring when Mother Nature fooled people with unpredictable weather.

The first recording of April foolishness was recorded in Geoffrey Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales. The book was written in 1392 and associated 1 April with foolishness.

Fake stories:

Fake stories are often published in the media and are usually explained in the small print or reported the following day. Can you remember any of these?

Some memorable fake stories:

1957 - the BBC broadcast a film on Panorama showing Swiss farmers harvesting freshly grown spaghetti from trees. The BBC was inundated with viewers wanting to know how to cultivate their own spaghetti plant.

1965 - the BBC TV showed an interview with a professor who claimed that people could smell the things shown on TV. The technology was called 'smell-o-vision'. Coffee beans and onions were shown to people who were asked to report if they smelled the items. Some people fell for it and even said the onions made their eyes water.

1976 - the BBC announced that on that day the gravity of earth would be reduced by a certain level and whoever jumped in the air would lightly float in the air! People who hadn’t noticed the date might have jumped to realize that mother earth cannot lose its attraction and that’s where BBC’s mission might have been accomplished.

1980 - The BBC announced Big Ben would undergo a face-lift and become digital to keep up with the times. The BBC were inundated with complaints from hundreds of callers.

1998 - Burger King introduced a left handed Whopper with all the condiments swirled on the burger anti-clockwise. It was so popular that people were trying to order them in store.

2005 - the Today Programme on BBC Radio 4 announced in the news that the long-running serial The Archers had changed its theme tune to an upbeat disco style.

2008 - the BBC caught viewers out by running a video clip of flying penguins, claiming the birds were flying to tropical rainforests in South America to escape the harsh Antarctic weather.

2009 - BMW in Germany ran an ad promoting the new 'magnetic tow technology'. This enabled drivers to turn off their engine and lock onto the car in front via a magnetic beam.

2017 - Coffee-Mate introduced a coffee flavour so your favourite coffee could taste more like coffee!

2017 - Burger King in France tried to sell a flame-grilled Whopper flavour toothpaste to keep your mouth Whopper fresh all day

2019 - a Florida Aquarium unveiled an attraction called Moon Bay. The 2,000 gallon tank contained translucent moon jellies, a type of jellyfish which visitors could touch. Apparently they were instructed in the safe and correct place to touch them. Moon jellies are technically a form of gelatinous zooplankton and not fish at all.

2019 - The town of Holyhead in North Wales were reported to be getting a 100ft Hollywood-style sign, saying it would give the town a higher profile. The sign was to be erected near the South Shack lighthouse.

Google is well known for the annual April Fools' jokes, which they have done since 2000. Apparently in 2020, because of the coronavirus pandemic, they decided it was not the time for jokes and cancelled them and they have never been resumed.

April Fools' Day Recipe

Gooseberry and elderflower fool - Photo by Ewan Munro
Gooseberry and elderflower fool - Photo by Ewan Munro
A fool is an English dessert.

Traditionally, fruit fool is made by folding stewed fruit (normally gooseberries) into sweet custard.

Modern fool recipes often skip the traditional custard and use whipped cream.