All Fools’ Day

All Fools’ Day

  April Fools’ Day is celebrated the world over on April 1st as a day of practical jokes, general silliness, and hoaxes. But, what prompted this tradition? Where did it come from?

April Fools!

  The truth is, it remains a mystery, although there are many theories about its origins.

  Some believe the first association between April 1st and playing tricks can be found in Geoffrey Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales from 1392. In “The Nun’s Priest’s Tale,” a fox tricks proud rooster Chauntecleer on “syn March bigan thritty dayes and two”. Chaucer probably meant 32 days after March (May 2), but many readers apparently misunderstood the line, and believed it to mean March 32 – a non-existent date – and recognized it as April 1.

  Others believe that the origins of April Fools’ Day began with the adoption of a new calendar in 1582. In 1582, Pope Gregory XIII ordered the use of a new calendar, known as the Gregorian calendar. This calendar celebrated New Year’s Day on January 1, which was actually a new idea. Many ancient cultures celebrated New Year’s Day around April 1, and according to legend, many people refused to recognize the new calendar or simply were unaware of its existence. These people continued to celebrate New Year’s Day on April 1, and eventually other people began to make fun of these “fools” by sending them to look for things that did not exist – also known as a “fool’s errand” – or by tricking them into believing something that was totally false.

  Although history can’t really pinpoint how or when April Fools’ Day began for certain, people the world over celebrate it year in and year out by playing pranks on each other. Some go all out with intricate plots and plans, but I find the simple classics to be the most fun.

  Even so, that’s not to say that I don’t enjoy the elaborate hoaxes that have been created to fool the public by media outlets and big businesses. For instance, Google frequently pranks its users on April 1st. Here’s a couple of Google pranks:


  Google Maps rolled out “Pac-Maps” for a second run this year. It was originally released back in 2015, but – with its popularity – it returned for round two. I actually heard a few people talking about this on social media recently.

Google Gnome

  This year, Google released its prank “The Google Gnome”. It was actually a bad pun crafted by 

  Google isn’t the only company to play a prank for April Fools’ Day. Many organizations have played the public over the years.

  In 1957, the British Broadcasting Company (BBC) news program Panorama announced that Swiss farmers were harvesting a record spaghetti crop thanks to the elimination of the dreaded “spaghetti weevil”. News footage showed Swiss peasants pulling spaghetti from trees, prompting thousands of viewers to call and inquire how to grow spaghetti trees!

  Taco Bell pulled a huge prank in 1996, reporting that they had purchased the US prized Liberty Bell to help ease the national deficit. The company claimed it would be renaming the national treasure the “Taco Liberty Bell”, fooling thousands of citizens who called to complain. Before Taco Bell revealed it was a practical joke a few hours later, reporters asked White House press secretary Mike McCurry about the sale, and in true April Fools’ fashion he made a joke of his own. He responded that the Lincoln Memorial had also been sold and would soon be known as the Ford Lincoln Mercury Memorial.

  Though the true origins of April Fools’ Day may remain one of history’s mysteries, it sure is fun to research and participate in. So, make sure you watch your back, don’t believe everything you read, and plan a few pranks of your own!



GIF’s via Giphy