5 April Fools’ Day Tidbits
April Fools’ Day is being celebrated around the world on April 1 and is a day full of pranks and jokes. Here are some interesting facts about this joyful holiday you might not have known.
1. Difficult to Track
No one exactly knows when the first Fools’ day was celebrated. But the first recorded connection between April 1 and foolishness allegedly dates back to 1392 and was found in Geoffrey Chaucer’s work “The Canterbury Tales,” which means that the tradition might have started then or even earlier.
Some historians believe the holiday might have been first introduced in France and may be related to a calendar change in the 16th century when the Gregorian calendar was accepted and New Year’s Day moved from April 1 to January 1.
When some French residents refused to accept the change, they were frequently referred to as April fools.
3. Media’s Epic Pranks
Media outlets in different countries have a long-standing tradition of releasing a fake story to celebrate the April Fools’ Day.
For instance, the BBC released a “report” about Swiss farmers “harvesting spaghetti” in the 1950s, while in 1976, it played up its listeners by saying that on April 1, the gravity of Earth would be temporally reduced and everyone who jumps would feel that they are floating in the air. Many people later called the media outlet to say that they felt the effect.
In 2008, a media outlet released a video about “flying penguins” in which it claimed that they had escaped the frosty Antarctic weather by flying to warm regions in South America.
For its part, Swedish national television aired a 5-minute special in 1962 on how one could make a handmade color TV by putting a nylon stocking in front of the black and white screen. There were a lot of people who really tried to put the advice into practice.
In 1969, the Dutch public broadcaster NTS reported that police officers with remote scanners would patrol the streets to find those who had not paid their radio/TV tax and recommended people wrap their TV and radio sets in aluminum foil to avoid detection. The next day aluminum foil was sold out in all stores across the country.
4. “Lions in the Tower of London”
On April 1, 1698, some Brits went to the Tower of London to “see the Lions washed” following a rumor. This is sometimes considered the first large-scale April Fools’ prank in British history.
5. Celebration in Different Countries
Residents of Canada and England are used to playing April Fools’ jokes only until 12 p.m.
Italy, Belgium and France frequently call this day April Fish. Part of this tradition is related to a widely spread joke when a person sticks a paper fish to someone’s back for fun, without being noticed.