The day that either lets your inner joker free or leaves you sitting around nervously all day, suspicious of everyone and everything. Love it or hate it, April Fool’s Day comes around each year on April 1st. From the underwhelming to the creative, the hilarious to the scandalous, people around the world try to come up with the best jokes and pranks to play on their friends and family. But why do we do it? What’s the story? Historians haven’t yet come to a concrete conclusion on the history behind April Fool’s Day, but here are some of their theories, as well as some entertaining examples of worldwide April Fools.
1. History of April Fool’s Day
One popular theory is that while nowadays in the majority of the world’s societies, January 1st is the beginning a of the New Year, this only began in 1592. Prior to this we used the Julian calendar, created by Julius Caesar in 45 BC, which saw the beginning of a new year on April 1st. Pope Gregory the 8th then created a new calendar, which was the start of the Gregorian calendar which most of us use nowadays. Of course, when he moved the date of New Year’s Eve it took some time for everyone to catch up to it and some still celebrated it on April 1st. These people were considered fools!
Another explanation, although lesser known, is that April Fool’s Day comes from Geoffrey Chaucer’s 1392 book The Canterbury Tales, which in one line of the publication states “March 32”. There is much debate as to the meaning of this, and because of lack of context and being dated so far back, the interpretation is still a mystery. Some think it’s a joke which created the annual tradition while others argue it’s nothing more than a misprint.
Happy #WorldPastaDay! As April Fool’s joke on1957, the BBC aired a spoof report claiming that spaghetti comes from trees that grow on a Swiss farm. There were viewers that believed and asked how they could do the same!— Jackie’s Art Corner (@JackieArtCorner) October 25, 2018
Photo: #RobertCouseBaker pic.twitter.com/SkGCdCJP3B
2. April Fool’s traditions
Regardless of which version of events led to the April Fool’s Day we know now, it has existed for centuries and continues to be a source of hilarity and excitement for many. The day’s traditions revolve around practical jokes, pranks, silliness and having fun. Whether it’s a small joke spoken to a friend, or a complicated prank involving months of plotting, the yelling of “April Fools’!” at the end lets you know you’ve been fooled. Nowadays, the concept of pranking has been take to a whole new level. Prank videos have their own category on video hosting platforms, whilst small businesses, large corporations, and TV networks all participate in the annual tradition.
3. Pranks over the years
Here are some of the pranks people have enjoyed over the years, and some entertaining but safe pranks for a bit of April Fools inspiration…enjoy!
Kids April Fool’s pranks are tech-y taping up mouse sensors, etc…I greased up a toilet seat for my wife & filled an Oreo with toothpaste.. pic.twitter.com/k1YaIM9W1V— Jeff Goldsmith (@yogoldsmith) April 1, 2017
wayv’s plan for Ten for tomorrow’s april fools pic.twitter.com/bGjxp5saWT— fern (@squishyunoh) March 31, 2021