April Fool’s Day is celebrated globally on 1st April by everyone irrespective of their age or occupation. Be it a prank on your best friend or you trying to make someone believe a ridiculously false fact, people celebrate it and make hilarious memories. But how many of you actually know the history of this tradition? Here are some facts you probably didn’t know about April Fool’s Day.
Some historians believe that it was because of Pope Gregory XIII in 1582 when he announced the use of a new calendar, Gregorian calendar, in which the new year started on January 1st as apposed to the old Julian calendar which started around March equinox. Some people did not know about this change and were mocked for it as they continued to celebrate the new year throughout the last week of March to 1st April.
Another theory says that it started because of an error in Gauffery Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales where in a line said Syn March bigan thritty dayes and two. Even though the line meant 32 days after March, which is May 2, people misread it as March 32 instead of April 1st and so it all began.
People in France began celebrating April Fool’s Day as Poisson d’Avril or April Fish where in children would tape a picture of the fish on the back of their classmates and scream ‘Poisson d’Avril’ when the prank would be discovered.
In Poland, “Prima Aprilis, uważaj, bo się pomylisz!” is a phrase used on April 1st which means- April Fools’ Day, be careful – you can be wrong! So people are quite cautious of falling into someone’s trap.
The Scottish celebrate April Fool’s for two days. The first day is traditionally called Hunt- The Gowk Day. Gowk translates to fool where in a person is pranked by sending him to different houses with a sealed message seeking for help, which asks the recipient to send the same message and continue the chain till they realise what’s going on. The second day is called as Tailie Day which seems to have kickstarted the infamous ‘Kick Me’ sign and a lot of other jokes.
The Romans celebrate it as a festival known as the Roman Laughing Day with masquerades and games. It is considered to be a merry making day in honour of Cybele, the mountain mother or the Anatolian Earth Goddess.
The Iranians celebrate April Fool’s Day on the 13th day of Persian New Year, traditionally called Sizdah Bedar and it usually falls on April 1st or April 2nd. People have been playing pranks on this day since 536 BC which makes it the oldest known joke day. According to tradition, they spend the afternoon indulging in food, laughter and good natured jokes. After the picnic, they throw the green vegetables called sabzeh to eliminate any bad luck or potential illness in the coming year.
Spain makes an exception and celebrates Fool’s day at the end of the year on December 28th which is technically their Christian feast day. However, this day is known for its pranking traditions and the victims are instructed to not be upset because the jokesters are innocent.
The British Broadcasting Company fooled thousands of people in 1957 when they announced that the Swiss farmers were harvesting a spaghetti crop and actually broadcast a footage showing Swiss peasants pulling spaghetti from trees. A lot of people called BBC inquiring about how they should grow spaghetti trees!
In 1998, popular burger joint Burger King published an advertisement in USA Today introducing the new Left-Handed Whopper, specifically made for left-handed Americans by rotating all the condiments 180 degrees. A lot of people started calling Burger King asking for this burger but they claimed it was a prank the next day.
Taco Bell announced in 1996 that it had bought the Liberty Bell to ease the national deficit. They claimed that it would be renamed Taco Liberty Bell fooling thousands of people who called to complain about it.
In the 1960s, Sweden had only one black and white news channel on T.V. People were pranked when they were told that for one day they would get a coloured display only if they pulled out a nylon stocking over the screen.
NASA joined the trail of pranks on April Fool’s Day in 2002 by posting a picture of the moon and tried to make people believe that the moon is made of cheese and even has an expiry date!
How many of these facts did you know? Let us know in the comments below.
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