Friday, April 1, 2011

Happy All Fools Day...!

I do hope that all of the pranks that this day is known for, are BY you and not ON you!

Lots of folks really get into the joke playing on April 1ST, but do you know the true history behind this well known date?

I thought I'd share the little known history, just in case any of you weren't aware of it before!

On this day in 1700, English pranksters begin popularizing the annual tradition of April Fools' Day by playing practical jokes on each other.

Although the day, also called All Fools' Day, has been celebrated for several centuries by different cultures, its exact origins remain a mystery.

Some historians speculate that April Fools' Day dates back to 1582, when France switched from the Julian calendar to the Gregorian calendar, as called for by the Council of Trent in 1563. People who were slow to get the news or failed to recognize that the start of the new year had moved to January 1 and continued to celebrate it during the last week of March through April 1 became the butt of jokes and hoaxes. These included having paper fish placed on their backs and being referred to as "poisson d'avril" (April fish), said to symbolize a young, easily caught fish and a gullible person.

Historians have also linked April Fools' Day to ancient festivals such as Hilaria, which was celebrated in Rome at the end of March and involved people dressing up in disguises. There's also speculation that April Fools' Day was tied to the vernal equinox, or first day of spring in the Northern Hemisphere, when Mother Nature fooled people with changing, unpredictable weather.

April Fools' Day spread throughout Britain during the 18th century. In Scotland, the tradition became a two-day event, starting with "hunting the gowk," in which people were sent on phony errands (gowk is a word for cuckoo bird, a symbol for fool) and followed by Tailie Day, which involved pranks played on people's derrieres, such as pinning fake tails or "kick me" signs on them.

In modern times, people have gone to great lengths to create elaborate April Fools' Day hoaxes. Newspapers, radio and TV stations and Web sites have participated in the April 1 tradition of reporting outrageous fictional claims that have fooled their audiences. In 1957, the BBC reported that Swiss farmers were experiencing a record spaghetti crop and showed footage of people harvesting noodles from trees; numerous viewers were fooled. In 1985, Sports Illustrated tricked many of its readers when it ran a made-up article about a rookie pitcher named Sidd Finch who could throw a fastball over 168 miles per hour. In 1996, Taco Bell, the fast-food restaurant chain, duped people when it announced it had agreed to purchase Philadelphia's Liberty Bell and intended to rename it the Taco Liberty Bell. In 1998, after Burger King advertised a "Left-Handed Whopper," scores of clueless customers requested the fake sandwich.


Lamb said...

My favorite April Fools Day trick came from the grave...Seriously! My then-husbands very elderly and cantankerous grandmother died a few days before April 1st and her funeral was April 1st. A lovely Spring day. Family and friends all gathered at the funeral home and her service was held. It was a long one as she had left a last request for about 6 songs to be played before the funeral, 6 during and 6 after, plus many favorite Bible verses were read. Her wishes were followed. We all exited the funeral home to go to the graveside service--only to find that while we were inside the windowless building---a snowstorm has erupted and dumped 4 inches in two hours and no one could get out of the parking lot due to the hearse sliding around and ending up halfway in a ditch and blocking the exit! As family members exclaimed "Yep, Granny was DEFINITELY with us today!", it ended up taking about two more hours to get a tow truck for the hearse, drive VERY slowly to the cemetery and finish up the graveside service.

Anonymous said...

fictional news? every night with fox'cnn. and even cbs

just like the fictional honest and true government...

nice post

Wildflower said...

As always, interesting info. I hope, also, that you don;t have a lot of pranks pulled (or pinned) on you!
April 1st was Billie H.'s b.d.. That is what I most remember.
Love you.

Momlady said...

I have a friend whose birthday is today, but he's no fool.

Anonymous said...

Left handed Whopper - now thats funny, I don't care who you are . . .


Baby Sis said...

Bubba -
I'm for all of them, as long as they are done in the spirit of fun and don't harm anyone. Brings a smile first thing in the am, and something to look forward to all day!

Big Hugs -

JoJo said...

Another good post My Special One.
I hope we don't have to put up with anyones jokes today.
I have some fresh ground coffee if you like and thats the truth. :)

Phelan said...

I fell for one this morning, but not in the way the joker intended. I was so very lost and no coffee to help clear out my thoughts.

Mechanic in Illinois said...

How about a left handed cresent or pipe wrenches? Thanks for the interesting story and have a great Friday.

Marjie said...

Happy April Fools Day to you, too, Jim! I've heard the same thing about the origin of Aprils Fools Day.

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