Let’s face it, we’ve all been caught with an April Fool’s joke once or twice and felt pretty stupid afterwards.
n the age of social media, many companies, media outlets and celebrities have taken to fooling unsuspecting customers, viewers and fans on April 1st.
But where did it all start?
Good question, and the answer is nobody’s really sure. One event or story that might explain the origins of April Fool’s Day is France’s switch from the Julian to the Gregorian calendar in 1582.
Originally, the French New Year fell on the vernal equinox in late March or early April, but this changed with the switch to the Gregorian calendar on January 1st. Those who were slow to change the calendar or who refused to do so were reportedly the target of jokes and pranks as early as the 16th century.
Some historians have said that those who didn’t change their calendar were called “April Fools.”
Other historians have theorized that its origins can be traced back to ancient Rome and the Festival of Hilaria, when people dressed in costumes and mocked others.
The April Fool’s Day tradition has only grown stronger in modern times, with such easy access to endless information that can be easily fabricated.
But before the digital age, the BBC played a remarkable prank on many unsuspecting viewers.
In 1957, it reported on a bumper harvest of spaghetti by Swiss farmers and showed people harvesting pasta from trees. The gag went down a treat.
In 1992, National Public Radio in the US tricked thousands into believing that former President Richard Nixon was running for office again by using an actor’s voice.
Also in the 1990s, Burger King announced they were launching a “left-handed whopper” and reported that thousands of unsuspecting customers demanded the burger after the joke was promoted.
One particularly memorable prank on modern television came when Bart Simpson rushed Homer to the hospital with a can of beer he had shaken so hard it exploded, leaving Homer in a coma for weeks.
Some of the public’s savvy tricks include placing plastic wrap over the toilet bowl to make a mess, or fumbling with the remote controls around the house to drive a family member to the brink of insanity.
One such prank that wasn’t well-received was when the fast-food chain Taco Bell announced on April 1, 1996 that it had purchased Philadelphia’s prized Liberty Bell and would be changing the name to Taco Liberty Bell.
The company ran full-page ads in newspapers and caused a major uproar in the city before the company backed down and admitted it was all a prank.
https://www.independent.ie/news/explainer-so-what-is-april-fools-day-and-where-did-it-come-from-41509623.html April Fool’s Day Pranks Ireland 2022: So What Is April Fool’s Day And Where Did It Come From?