So today is April 1st, or April Fools Day (this is true, not a joke).
April Fools’ Day, also referred to by some as “All Fools’ Day” is an informal holiday celebrated every year on April 1st. The day is not a national holiday in any country, however it is widely recognized as a day when people play practical jokes and hoaxes on each other, called April fools.
Hoax stories are also often found in the press and media on this day – but not on the Internet, because we all know that everything on the Internet is 100% true, right?!?
Many believe that April Fools Day originated in In Iran, where jokes are played on the 13th day of the Persian new year (Nowruz), which falls on April 1 or April 2. This day, was celebrated as far back as 536 BC, and is referred to in Iran as “Sizdah Bedar”, making it the oldest prank-tradition in the world.
As far as April Fools Day pranks go – and many of us are already expecting there to be something so outrageous that it has to be a prank, but back in 1957, the BBC pulled a prank, known as the Swiss Spaghetti Harvest prank, where they broadcast a fake film of Swiss farmers picking freshly-grown spaghetti. The BBC were later flooded with requests to purchase a spaghetti plant, forcing them to declare the film a prank on the news the next day.
While that was a clever prank, some people take April Fools Da a little too far, such as, “An Australian woman called emergency services to tell them her baby had fallen off the bed and stopped breathing. When the ambulances arrived, there was no sick baby. It was her idea of a hilarious April Fool”.
But some fairly common pranks to look out for, and some classic pranks which garnered world-wide attention include these;
On April 1, 1976 famed British astronomer and radio presenter Patrick Moore announced over the BBC that a rare alignment of the planets Pluto and Jupiter would occur at exactly 9:47 a.m. during which the effects of gravity would be nullified and everyone on earth would feel weightless for a brief moment. “At 9:47, Moore declared, ‘Jump now!’”
A minute passed, and then the BBC switchboard lit up with dozens of people calling in to report that the experiment had worked!
But it was all a complete prank.
In more recent years some of the best April Fools jokes have been perpetrated by the advertising industry, specifically in 1996, when Taco Bell ran a full-page ad in the New York Times announcing it had purchased the Liberty Bell and would rename it the “Taco Liberty Bell.”
In 1998, Burger King announced the rollout of its “Left-Handed Whopper”, there has been stories about glasses for dogs, canned pizza, and in 2002 a British supermarket chain called Tesco published an advertisement in the British newspaper “The Sun” announcing the successful development of a genetically modified ‘whistling carrot.’ The ad explained that the carrots had been specially engineered to grow with tapered air holes in their side, which, when fully cooked caused the carrot to whistle.
On the Internet, hoaxes are such standard fare that April Fools’ Day is barely distinguishable from any other, but this one keeps getting brought up year-in-year-out, and makes me laugh – the announcement to that every computer connected to the World Wide Web must be turned off and disconnected for Internet Cleaning Day, a 24-hour period during which useless “flotsam and jetsam” are flushed from the system.
What stories have you seen today?
Did you get fooled?
Did you pull a prank on your kids, or them on you?
We toyed with the idea of moving all the kids into each other’s beds in the middle of the night, but geez, we’re so darn tired, I just told them about it in the morning.