Are You Ready For April Fools' Day?
Jan Harris, Assistant Editor
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.
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.
What is it?
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'.
Fake stories are often published in the media and are usually explained in the small print or reported the following day.
Some memorable fake stories:
In 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.
In 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 onion brought tears to their eyes!
In 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.
In 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.
In 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.
Coffee-Mate introduced a coffee flavour so your favourite coffee could taste more like coffee!
Burger King in France tried to sell a flame-grilled Whopper flavour toothpaste to keep your mouth Whopper fresh all day
Google is well known for the annual April Fools' jokes, which they have done in 2000, 2002, and every year since 2004.
Some famous people born on 1 April
1578: William Harvey, English physician & academic (d. 1657)
1815: Otto von Bismarck, German lawyer & politician (d. 1898)
1883: Lon Chaney, American actor, director & screenwriter (d. 1930)
1920: Toshiro Mifune, Chinese-Japanese actor & producer (d. 1997)
1929: Milan Kundera, Czech-French author, poet & playwright
1932: Debbie Reynolds, American actress, singer & 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 & producer (d. 1997)
1946: Arrigo Sacchi, Italian footballer, coach & manager
1948: Jimmy Cliff, Jamaican singer & actor
1949: Gil Scott-Heron, American singer-songwriter & author (d. 2011)
1953: Barry Sonnenfeld, American director & producer
1957: David Gower, English cricketer & sportscaster
1961: Susan Boyle, Scottish singer
1962: Phillip Schofield, English television host
1966: Chris Evans, English radio & television host
1969: Dean Windass, English footballer and manager
1971: Method Man, American rapper, producer & actor (Wu-Tang Clan)
1976: Clarence Seedorf, Dutch-Brazilian footballer & manager
1980: Bijou Phillips, American actress
1985: Beth Tweddle, English gymnast
So be warned and be on your guard for you don't want to become an 'April Fool'
|Also by Jan Harris...|
|A Day For England!|
|Earth Day 2019 - Protect Our Species|
|Easter Customs And Traditions - Easter Sunday|
|Easter Customs And Traditions - Good Friday|
|The Pink Moon Rises On Good Friday|
Are You Ready For April Fools' Day?, 31st March 2019, 22:11 PM