April Fools’ Day

April Fools’ Day, also known as All Fools’ Day, is celebrated on the 1st of April each year in various countries around the world. This day is marked by the tradition of playing practical jokes and spreading hoaxes among friends, family, and even in media and corporate settings. The jokes and their victims are called “April fools”. People playing April Fool jokes expose their prank by shouting “April Fool!” at the unfortunate victim(s). The origins of this tradition are uncertain, but it has been celebrated for several centuries in different cultures. Some historians speculate that April Fools’ Day dates back to the 16th century when France switched from the Julian calendar to the Gregorian calendar as called for by the Council of Trent in 1563. Those who failed to realize that the start of the new year had moved to January 1 and continued to celebrate it during the last week of March through April 1 became the butt of jokes and hoaxes.

10 Most Memorable Factual April Fools’ Day Pranks

BBC’s Spaghetti Tree Hoax (1957)

The BBC broadcast a report showing Swiss farmers picking spaghetti from trees, leading many to believe spaghetti grew on trees. This prank is one of the most famous April Fools’ Day hoaxes in history.

Swedish “Left-Handed Whopper” (1998)

Burger King advertised a new “Left-Handed Whopper” in the USA, specifically designed for left-handed burger lovers, causing confusion and amusement nationwide.

San Serriffe (1977)

The Guardian published a supplement about the fictional island nation of San Serriffe, complete with geographic features and cultural norms, fooling many readers.

Taco Liberty Bell (1996)

Taco Bell announced it had bought the Liberty Bell and renamed it to “Taco Liberty Bell,” sparking widespread public outcry before the reveal.

Google’s MentalPlex (2000)

Google introduced MentalPlex, claiming users could search the web by thinking about what they wanted to find, leading to hilarious “error messages.”

Flying Penguins (2008)

The BBC ran a video report on its website about a newly discovered colony of flying penguins, complete with elaborate footage, as part of its April Fools’ Day tradition.

Color TV Adjustment (1962)

Swedish national television announced that viewers could convert their existing sets to display color broadcasts by placing a nylon stocking over the screen.

Big Ben Goes Digital (1980)

The BBC World Service reported that Big Ben was going to be given a digital readout. The announcement caused a huge uproar among the audience.

Internet Spring Cleaning (1997)

An email chain letter warned users that the internet would be shut down for cleaning for 24 hours, urging them to disconnect their devices.

NASA’s Jovian-Plutonian Gravitational Effect (1976)

BBC Radio 2 reported that a rare alignment of two planets would result in decreased gravity on Earth, leading listeners to believe they could briefly float if they jumped at the right moment.

Key Traditions of April Fools’ Day

Playing Pranks

In many cultures, playing harmless pranks on friends and family is a key tradition of April Fools’ Day. The pranks can range from simple jokes to elaborate hoaxes.

Saying “April Fool”

After successfully tricking someone, it is customary in several countries to shout “April Fool!” to reveal the joke.

Media Hoaxes

Many newspapers, TV stations, and websites participate by publishing one fake story on April 1st, often with subtle hints that it’s a prank.

“Poisson d’Avril” (April Fish)

In France, Italy, and Belgium, a common prank is to stick a paper fish on someone’s back as an April Fools’ joke.

Sending on a “Fool’s Errand”

In the UK and Ireland, sending someone on a fool’s errand with a nonsensical task or a sealed letter that reads “send the fool further” is a tradition.

“Dorugh-e Sizdah” in Iran

Marking the 13th day after Persian New Year, pranks are played, similar to April Fools’ Day, under the name “Dorugh-e Sizdah”.

Humorina in Ukraine

In Odesa, Ukraine, April Fools’ Day is celebrated as Humorina with parades, jokes, and dressing up in costumes.

“Prima Aprilis” in Poland

A day for playing pranks and hoaxes, with a tradition so strong that even serious information may be doubted.

Digital Hoaxes

Modern traditions include digital pranks through social media and email, often involving fake announcements or news stories.

Ending at Noon

In some places like the UK, April Fools’ Day pranks are supposed to stop at noon. Pranking after this time turns the joker into the fool.

Best Movies Set During April Fools’ Day

“April Fool’s Day” (1986)

Directed by Fred Walton, this horror film revolves around a group of college students who visit a friend’s island mansion for the weekend, only to be caught in a series of pranks and murders. Starring Deborah Foreman and Griffin O’Neal, it twists the April Fools’ Day theme into a suspenseful plot.

Most Important Works of Literature About April Fools’ Day

“April Fool’s Day” by Bryce Courtenay (1993)

This touching book is a departure from the traditional April Fools’ theme. It tells the story of the author’s son, Damon Courtenay, who died on April Fools’ Day from a rare blood disease. It’s a powerful narrative of love, loss, and the fragility of life.

Best Videogame About April Fools’ Day

Minecraft April Fools’ Day Updates

Every year, Mojang releases a unique April Fools’ Day update for Minecraft, introducing absurd and humorous features that are only available for a short time. These have included everything from joke versions of the game to bizarre new items and mechanics.

Best Cakes, Cookies and Sweets for April Fools’ Day

April Fools’ Day Desserts

Bakers and chefs often create dessert items that look like savory dishes, such as cakes shaped and decorated to resemble pizzas or hamburgers, playing into the day’s theme of deception and fun.

Best Food for April Fools’ Day

Spaghetti Harvest Hoax-Inspired Dishes

In homage to one of the most famous April Fools’ Day hoaxes, some celebrate by creating dishes that playfully nod to the BBC’s 1957 report of a Swiss spaghetti harvest, such as spaghetti served in unusual ways or settings.

Other Relevant Tips for Observance

Plan Your Prank in Advance

To ensure a successful April Fools’ prank, planning ahead can help you execute your joke smoothly and safely.

Keep It Harmless

The best April Fools’ pranks are those that are harmless, both physically and emotionally, to the recipient.

Know Your Audience

Ensure that your prank is appropriate for the person you’re targeting, considering their sense of humor and personal circumstances.

Be Ready to Reveal

Always be prepared to immediately reveal that it’s an April Fools’ joke, especially if the recipient seems distressed or confused.

Respect Boundaries

If someone is not appreciative of April Fools’ Day pranks, respect their wishes and refrain from including them in your playful mischief.

Leave a Comment