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April Fool’s Day- Learn More About the Tradition


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April Fools’ Day on April 1st has long been a day when practical jokes and tricks are played on the unaware. It’s a time when children convince their parents they’ve broken a bone. Parents get in on the planning, too. Classic April Fools’ jokes include caramel covered onions or fake doggy doo-doo in inconvenient places. Businesses launch impractical or unbelievable products for the fun of the day and newspapers print incredible headlines catching readers off guard.


Of course, the trick to a good April Fools’ prank is planning. And you also need to be the first to pull it off. There’s no point in pursuing your prank if someone else beats you to it. Once the foolery has been triggered, everyone else will be on high alert and the element of surprise will be lost.

Some practical jokers go to great lengths to pull off their ruse. The more people involved the greater the risk of being discovered before the great plan can be deployed.

Other scholars point to the reformation of the calendar by Pope Gregory and the Gregorian calendar we used today in the 1500s in France. The new year would take place in April, not January as it does now. The theory is that those who continued to celebrate the new year on April 1st were called Poisson d’Avril (April fish) and pranks would be played on them.

In 1582, France accepted the Gregorian calendar, but reforms had already been taking place.

In Britain in 1776, there is a clear and reliable reference to April foolishness in an article in Gentlemans Magazine.  Reference to a custom in the kingdom of making fools of people on the first day of April.  It addresses the day being the culmination of an eight-day feast and the beginning of a new year.

Noted Foolery

Newspapers, television, radio, and social media have had their fun on April Fools’ Day. Check out all this April 1 foolishness:

  • Times of London reported in 1992 that Belgium was negotiating to join Holland.
  • The Evening Star of Islington advertised in 1864 a display of donkeys at the Agricultural Hall the next day. Those who arrived early soon realized who the donkeys on display really were.
  • In 1950, The Progress in Clearfield, Pennsylvania, published a picture of a UFO flying over the town. Claiming to have “scooped” larger publications of the first-ever published picture of a real flying saucer.
  • In 2008, the BBC presented a documentary on flying penguins.

April Fool’s FAQ

Q. Is April Fool’s Day always on April 1st?
A. Yes. If your friends, coworkers and the news seems especially goofy on April 1st, this is why.

Q. Can anyone participate in April Fool’s Day?
A. Yes. Silliness and practical joking are for everyone. It’s important not to pull a prank that might be dangerous. Some fun and harmless ways to celebrate include:

    • Slipping a rubber snake, worm, mouse, or other creature into food.
    • Leaving a fake mess for someone to find like plastic puppy droppings or spilled milk.
    • Switch the labels on a few cans of vegetables.
    • Pour gravy over ice cream. Add sprinkles for an authentic look.
    • Stick a sign on your friend’s back that says, “Wish me a happy birthday!”
    • Call the local radio station and wish your little sister “Happy 50th Birthday” ten years early.
    • Post on social media that you’re moving to a foreign country.

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