~~April 1, 2014~~
Twenty interesting things about “April Fools Day”
By Heather Sanders
(Full Credit for information)
Here are 20 interesting things you may, or may not know, about April Fools’ Day.
1. The earliest recorded reference to April Fools’ Day was in Geoffrey Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales in 1392.
2. Although historians believe April Fools’ began in France, no one is entirely certain. One belief is that it began with a calendar change in the 16th century, when Pope Gregory XIII adopted the Gregorian calendar, and New Year’s Day was moved from April 1 to January 1.
3. The ancient Romans had a day of jokes called Festival of Hilaria (a.k.a. Roman Laughing Day). In ancient Rome, the festival of Hilaria was held to celebrate the vernal equinox and honor the Anatolian Earth Goddess.
4. Boese of the Museum of Hoaxes points out that April Fools’ is a day where social inequalities could be confronted; for example, in the 1800s street urchins played tricks on the London gentlemen.
5. As an April Fools’ Day prank in 1998, Burger King published a full page advertisement in USA TODAY introducing the newest menu item: a “Left-Handed Whopper.”
6. In Scotland, April Fools’ Day used to be called “Hunt the Gowk Day.” “Gowk” is an old Scottish word for a foolish person. A traditional prank involved sending the “gowk” to deliver a sealed message. The message instructed the recipient, “Dinna laugh, dinna smile. Hunt the gowk another mile.” The recipient would then send the victim onward to another person, bearing an identical sealed message. The joke went on until either the “gowk” got wise to what was going on, or someone took pity on him.
7. The French call April 1 Poisson d’Avril, or “April Fish.” French children sometimes tape a picture of a fish on the back of their schoolmates, crying “Poisson d’Avril” when the prank is discovered.
8. In Spain, December 28th is the equivalent of the U.S.’s April Fools’ Day. Dia de los Santos Inocentes (“Day of the Holly Innocents”), a religious holiday named in honor of young children slaughtered by order of King Herod around the time of Jesus’ birth, has largely lost its religious aspect. Now, “pranks that became popular during the Middle Ages have been combined with winter festivities of pagan origin.”
9. On 1 April 1976, BBC radio astronomer Patrick Moore stated to radio listeners that an astronomical event (the conjunction of Jupiter and Pluto) would take place at 9:47 a.m. that day, which would noticeably decrease gravity on Earth. If listeners were to jump into the air at that exact moment, they would find they felt a floating sensation.
10. Twenty years earlier, the BBC fooled the nation with a spoof documentary broadcast about spaghetti crops in Switzerland. The documentary “featured a family in Switzerland carrying out their annual spaghetti harvest … carefully plucking strands of spaghetti from a tree and laying them in the sun to dry.” Apparently, millions were duped–calling in to ask how they could grow their own spaghetti trees.
11. On April Fools’ Day in 1996, Taco Bell took out a full-page advertisement in seven leading U.S. newspapers announcing their purchase of the Liberty Bell, which they purportedly renamed the “Taco Liberty Bell.” At noon on the same day it was revealed that the story was a hoax.
12. In 2001, another successful April Fools’ marketing ploy was set-up in Denmark involving a car from Copenhagen’s new subway. It appeared as though one of the subway cars accidentally pushed through the ground in the square directly in front of town hall.
13. Google outdoes itself each year with April Fools’ jokes. In 2013, they introduced the Google Wallet Mobile ATM which advertised that it could attach to most smartphones and“dispense money instantly and effortlessly”, including rare $2 and $50 bills. No more searching for an ATM or bank! “If your mobile ATM is running low on funds, a self-driving, armored, hybrid vehicle will be alerted and dispatched to your location–arriving within minutes to quickly and safely refill your ATM.”
14. Funnily enough, because of their chronic hoaxes through the years, when Google actually launched its Gmail service on April 1, 2004, everyone assumed it was another joke. Of course, that was the plan because Google knew it would offer additional free publicity when everyone realized the service was real.
15. A Flemish April Fools’ tradition has children locking their parents or teachers from their homes/rooms, only letting them back in when they promise a treat.
16. In England, depending on where you live, instead of being called “fool” on April Fools’ Day, you could be called a “noodle,” “noddy,” “gobby” or “gob.”
17. Even Mark Twain had something to say about April Fools’ Day: “This is the day upon which we are reminded of what we are on the other three hundred and sixty-four.” (Pudd’nhead Wilson, 1894)
18. Twitter jumped in on the April Fools’ Day bandwagon in 2013 to announce that they were shifting to a two-tiered service. Those who wanted to use their services for free could use Tweetter, where they could tweet ONLY consonants. Those who paid $5/monthly could use consonants AND vowels.
19. According to a 2010 national study, 68% of advertising and marketing executives consider April Fools’ pranks unsuitable; only 3% found pranks “very appropriate.”
20. Based on its readers’ feedback and ongoing research over at The Museum of Hoaxes, there is an entertaining and in – depth list of the Top 100 April Fools’ Day Hoaxes of All Time.
~~Top 5 April Fool’s Pranks!~~
~~Published on Mar 27, 2014~~
Here are 5 harmless pranks to play on your friends or enemies this April Fool’s Day!
Even today, we ALL are ONE!!