April Fools’ Day is celebrated every year on April 1 by playing practical jokes and spreading hoaxes. Let’s see some amazing facts and trivia about it!
1.The jokes and their victims are called April fools.
2. People playing April Fool jokes expose their prank by shouting April Fool.
3. Geoffrey Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales (1392) contains the first recorded association between April 1 and foolishness.
4. The custom of setting aside a day for the playing of harmless pranks upon one’s neighbor is recognized everywhere.
5. Some precursors of April Fools’ Day include the Roman festival of Hilaria.
6. In Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales (1392), the “Nun’s Priest’s Tale” is set Syn March bigan thritty dayes and two.
7. Modern scholars believe that there is a copying error in the extant manuscripts and that Chaucer actually wrote, Syn March was gon.
8. Thus the passage originally meant 32 days after March, i.e. 2 May, the anniversary of the engagement of King Richard II of England to Anne of Bohemia, which took place in 1381. Readers apparently misunderstood this line to mean “32 March”, i.e. April 1.
9. In Chaucer’s tale, the vain cock Chauntecleer is tricked by a fox.
10. In 1508, French poet Eloy d’Amerval referred to a poisson d’avril (April fool, literally “Fish of April”), a possible reference to the holiday.
12. In 1539, Flemish poet Eduard de Dene wrote of a nobleman who sent his servants on foolish errands on April 1.
13. In 1686, John Aubrey referred to the holiday as “Fooles holy day”, the first British reference.
14. On April 1, 1698, several people were tricked into going to the Tower of London to “see the Lions washed”.
15. In the Middle Ages, New Year’s Day was celebrated on March 25 in most European towns.
16. In some areas of France, New Year’s was a week-long holiday ending on April 1.
17. Some writers suggest that April Fools’ originated because those who celebrated on January 1 made fun of those who celebrated on other dates.
18. The use of January 1 as New Year’s Day was common in France by the mid-16th century, and this date was adopted officially in 1564 by the Edict of Roussillon.
19. In the Netherlands, the origin of April Fools’ Day is often attributed to the Dutch victory at Brielle in 1572, where the Spanish Duke Álvarez de Toledo was defeated. “Op 1 april verloor Alva zijn bril.” is a Dutch proverb, which can be translated to: “On the first of April, Alva lost his glasses.” In this case, the glasses (“bril” in Dutch) serve as a metaphor for Brielle. This theory, however, provides no explanation for the international celebration of April Fools’ Day.
20. In the UK, an April Fool joke is revealed by shouting “April fool!” at the recipient, who becomes the “April fool”.
21. A study in the 1950s, by folklorists Iona and Peter Opie, found that in the UK, and in countries whose traditions derived from the UK, the joking ceased at midday.
22. In Scotland, April Fools’ Day was traditionally called ‘Huntigowk Day’, although this name has fallen into disuse.
23. The name is a corruption of ‘Hunt the Gowk’, “gowk” being Scots for a cuckoo or a foolish person; alternative terms in Gaelic would be Là na Gocaireachd ‘gowking day’ or Là Ruith na Cuthaige ‘the day of running the cuckoo’.
24. The traditional prank is to ask someone to deliver a sealed message that supposedly requests help of some sort. In fact, the message reads “Dinna laugh, dinna smile. Hunt the gowk another mile.”
25. The recipient, upon reading it, will explain he can only help if he first contacts another person, and sends the victim to this next person with an identical message, with the same result.
26. In England a “fool” is known by different names around the country, including a “noodle”, “gob”, “gobby” or “noddy”.
27. In Ireland it was traditional to entrust the victim with an “important letter” to be given to a named person. That person would then ask the victim to take it to someone else, and so on. The letter when finally opened contained the words “send the fool further
28. As well as people playing pranks on one another on April Fools’ Day, elaborate practical jokes have appeared on radio and TV stations, newspapers, web sites, and have been performed by large corporations.
29. In one famous prank from 1957, the BBC broadcast a film in their Panorama current affairs series purporting to show Swiss farmers picking freshly-grown spaghetti, in what they called the Swiss Spaghetti Harvest.
30. The BBC were later flooded with requests to purchase a spaghetti plant, forcing them to declare the film a hoax on the news the next day.
31. On April Fools’ Day 2016, online football news channel Goal.com falsely reported that FC Barcelona winger Lionel Messi agreed to a €500 million deal to sign with Real Madrid for five years.
32. The reporter’s name used in the article was “Lirpa Loof”, which is “April Fool” spelled backwards.
33. With the advent of the Internet and readily available global news services, April Fools’ pranks can catch and embarrass a wider audience than ever before.