April Fools’ Day on April 1 is a day where many of us unleash our most creative sides, all in a hilarious – sometimes over-the-top – attempt at bamboozling those around us.
Why do we do this, and where did it start? Well, there surprisingly isn’t a concrete conclusion by historians. We’ll explore the possibilities below, but nevertheless, every spring we all put on our pranking caps to plan out the most devious and diabolical, yet safe and playful pranks we can think of, making this 24 hours possibly the most fun, exciting, and anxiety-filled day of the year!
WHEN IS APRIL FOOLS’ DAY 2023?
April Fools’ Day is celebrated every year on April 1. The day is all about being neutral and serious about everything, and… HA! APRIL FOOLS!
HISTORY OF APRIL FOOLS’ DAY
Today, pranking on April Fools’ Day has transcended the confinements of the first day of April to become a year-round internet phenomenon. Thousands of videos on the most popular internet sites emerge every day, pushing the pranking limit to sometimes dangerous territories. We do NOT condone this and below we’ll illustrate how to allow this holiday to remain true to what it was meant to be – safe, and well, hilarious!
There’s no consensus on how it all began, but a popular theory is that while nowadays, January 1 is when we start the new year, this wasn’t the case before 1592. We used a calendar called the Julian calendar – created by Julius Caesar in 45 BC – which saw every new year begin on April 1! Crazy, we know.
Pope Gregory the 8th created a new method for keeping track of days, which was the start of the calendar we all know and love – the Gregorian calendar. When he moved the date of New Year’s Eve it obviously took some time for everyone to catch on to it. Those who were a bit behind the times still celebrated on April 1 and were considered fools for doing so.
One lesser-known, often argued explanation for our beloved prank day is buried in a 1392 book called “The Canterbury Tales” by Geoffrey Chaucer. One line in this publication simply references “March 32”, and the debate to its meaning was born. Without many contexts and being dated so far back, the interpretation remains a mystery. Some believe it to be a joke, dawning this annual tradition, while some say it’s none other than a misprint.
Whether we have Gregory the 8th or Geoffrey Chaucer to thank for April Fools’ Day, it has existed for centuries and will continue to cause a flurry of creativity and excitement in the first few weeks of spring.
APRIL FOOLS’ DAY AROUND THE WORLD
|France||Poisson d’Avril||The same as April Fools’ Day, but is known as ‘April Fish’ due to the popular prank of sticking a paper fish onto someone’s back.||April 1|
|Scotland||Huntigowk Day||In Scotland, to ‘hunt the gowk’ is to find a gullible person or a ‘cuckoo’, and prank them!||April 1|
|Scotland||Taily Day||In some parts of Scotland, the pranking lasts two days, with day two pranks being focused on the posterior.||April 2|
|Denmark||Maj-kat||An identical holiday to April Fools’ Day is celebrated a month later, with more practical jokes and gags.||May 1|
|Spain||Childermas||Although the holiday has grim origins, the holiday is now much celebrated like April Fools’ Day.||December 28|
TRADITIONS OF THE DAY
April Fools’ Day traditions are all about practical jokes, playing pranks, and having fun. It can be minor like a verbal joke, or something that you have been plotting for the past few months. Either way, usually the gag ends with the yelling of “April Fools’!” to signify the end of the prank.
In modern times, prank videos have become a category of their own on video hosting platforms. So, naturally, April Fools’ Day pranks have become quite elaborate in recent years. Small businesses, large corporations, and TV networks have also started to participate in this annual tradition, advertising and promoting fictitious claims to fool their audiences. The mild-mannered trickster always has the classic switching-of-sugar-with-salt gag up their sleeve.