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Friday, 12 August 2011

April Fool's Day

April Fools’ Day is mentioned in literature that dates back to 1392. According to the Museum of Hoaxes, the holiday is believed to have been first referenced in Chaucer's “Nun’s Priest’s Tale."

Many trace the origins of April Fools' Day back to 1582 when France switched from the Julian calendar to the Gregorian, resulting in the new year starting on January 1st instead of March 25th. “Those who continued to celebrate the end of New Year Week on April 1st were referred to as fools,” according to the Encyclopedia Britannica.

In Belgium and France, there is an April Fool tradition of playing pranks on people by tacking paper fish on their backs. For that reason, the French and Belgians call April Fool’s Day Poisson d’Avril (April fish).

The 13th day of the Persian New Year known as Sizdah Bedar usually falls one of the first two days of April in Iran, and people have reportedly played pranks during this holiday since 536 BC.

The earliest British reference came in 1686 when John Aubrey called April 1st “Fooles holy day”.

One of the first April Fool  pranks occurred in 1698, when the citizens of London were tricked into attending the lion-washing ceremony at the Tower of London, a ceremony that did not actually exist.

The prank was repeated on April 1, 1857 when tickets were offered for "Washing the Lions" at the Tower of London in London.

The New York Times printed a picture of a man flying using a breath-powered machine on April 1, 1934.

On April 1 1957, the BBC current affairs program Panorama carried out a report that the Swiss were not only growing spaghetti on trees, but that they also had a shortage of the crop.

Copyright holder: British Broadcasting Corporation, 

In the 1950s a Dutch TV station ran a report announcing that The Leaning Tower of Pisa had fallen over. Alert viewers didn't fall for the prank realizing it was April 1st.

On April 1, 1965 the BBC reported it was going to trial ‘smell-o-vision' and in 1980, that Big Ben was getting a digital display.

Astronomer Patrick Moore told BBC listeners on April 1, 1976 that due to a unique planet alignment, we would feel lighter at 9.47am.

On April 1, 2008 the BBC broadcast a trailer for a program about a newly discovered colony of flying penguins as an April Fools' Day hoax. The film was advertised as compelling evidence for Charles Darwin's theory of evolution.

Wikipedia Commons

On April 1, 1990, the News of the World reported the two ends of the Channel Tunnel would miss each other by 14 feet as the French were working in metric.

In Canada and England, pranks are only played on the morning of April 1st.

Holy Innocents Day on December 28th commemorates The Massacre of the Innocents, the biblical recount of infanticide by Herod the Great. It is a day for pranks, equivalent to April Fool's Day in many countries including Spain, Hispanic America, and the Philippines. After somebody plays a prank on somebody else, the joker usually cries out, in some regions of Ibero-America: Inocente palomita que te dejaste engañar ("You innocent little dove that let yourself be fooled").

Source International Business Times

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