Every year, the time comes for people to start brainstorming how they can prank someone close to them. April Fools Day has a history of practical jokes that have people around the world splitting at the sides. Once a year, on April 1, people are on high alert and ready for any sign of trickery. Still, every year, the wool is pulled over their eyes one way or another. Some of the hilarious jokes on April Fools Day have become legendary.
Almost everyone, in countries that observe April Fools Day, knows, at least, one joke. Although, few really know the history behind this fantastic laugh-factory holiday. Historians speculate that the origins of April Fools Day date back to approximately 450 years ago–in France no less. New Year’s used to be celebrated on April 1, but in 1563, France switched from the Julian to Gregorian calendar moving New Year’s to January 1. The news did not travel very fast in those days, and those who continued to celebrate on April 1, became known as “April Fools.”
This is mere speculation. In fact, History.com states that some historians have drawn links between April Fools Day and a festival celebrated in ancient Rome. The festival was known as Hilaria, which was celebrated at the end of March and people would dress up in disguises.
A fun fact for all the diehard pranksters out there, if one day is not enough time to get all the mayhem accomplished, try moving to Scotland. In the homeland of Mel Gibson’s Braveheart, April Fools Day is a two-day affair.
When looking into the April Fools Day history, it is chalked full of fun facts that will make people laugh. There have truly been some remarkable pranks played that will live forever in the pages of time.
In 1962, the Swedish National Network hired a ‘technical’ expert to appear on a broadcast. The expert’s name was Kjell Stensson. In the broadcast, he described that by applying nylon stockings to their television screens, people would be able to see TV in color. Hoaxes.org reported that, to this day, Swedes remember how many fell for this light-hearted trickery.
According to The Associated Press, April Holiday wrote a story that had many scientists baffled and outright furious. Holiday reported the Alabama Legislature was fed up dealing with Pi, so they changed it. In a news article, Holiday went in-depth about how Alabama legislators changed the value of Pi to 3 in 1998.
How many times have people been at home, completely drunk, and felt an overwhelming desire to surf the web? Apparently, it was an epidemic. In 1994, PC Magazine featured an article by writer Lirpa Sloof (foolS apriL). The article in question stated that Congress was passing legislation prohibiting the use of the Internet while intoxicated.
“Tricky Dicky” struck again in 1992. NPR’s Talk of the Nation announced Richard Nixon was running for president–again. The radio broadcasts revealed Nixon’s new campaign slogan, “I didn’t do anything wrong, and I won’t do it again.” Listeners around the U.S. called in, absolutely furious that Nixon would even think about running.
In 1974, residents of Sitka, Alaska, awoke to be overcome with sheer panic. The nearby volcano, Mount Edgecumbe, started billowing black smoke on the morning of April 1. Petrified, the citizens became frantic, thinking the volcano was about to erupt. It turns out, Mount Edgecumbe had been dormant for a long time. A man by the name of Porky Bickar flew hundreds of tires into the crater and set them on fire.
The last prank is so hilarious it defies all description. BBC has proven time and time again, that Brits know how to do April Fools Day right. Hoaxes.org ranks the Spaghetti Harvest Video as the greatest April Fools Day prank of all time. The BBC created a majestic piece of mischief.
The fact that April Fools Day is riddled with fun history makes the laughing experience even better. The silliest of all holidays only comes once a year, and when it does, laughter is shared at the expense of all. Thanks for reading, enjoy the video below, and keep the smiles coming.
Opinion by Harrison Baker
Edited by Leigh Haugh
CNN: Some of the greatest April Fools’ hoaxes ever
Hoaxes: The Top 100 April Fool’s Day Hoaxes of All Time
History: APRIL 01, 1700 : APRIL FOOLS TRADITION POPULARIZED
IBTimes: April Fools’ Day 2016 Facts And History: Trivia About Why We Celebrate Pranks And Jokes On This Day
Top Article and Featured Image Courtesy of Funky Karnaval, Parade des Jouets 2’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image Courtesy of Jonny Hughes’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License