Yesterday I wrote an article about a mushroom beer brewery opening in Rhode Island, and it was one of my favorite April Fools’ pranks of all times! It was fun because not only did many people fall for it, but it promoted some existing local businesses in the meantime. To avoid spoiling the joke, I didn’t mention April Fools’ in the article. So I thought I’d write about it today!
History of April Fools’ Day
Despite being a popular holiday worldwide, the origins of April Fools’ Day are not clear. Some believe that it started in 1582 in France when the Pope changed to the Gregorian calendar. Without the internet, it took a while to tell everyone that the New Year was now celebrated in January, so the ones who observed it in Spring were called April Fools.
Others believe that it comes from Hilaria, which is Latin for joyful. Hilaria was celebrated in ancient Rome at the end of March by followers of the cult of Cybele. People would dress up in disguises and mocked each other. Some believe that it is tied to Holi, the Indian festival where people throw colorful powders or water on each other.
Finally, there are those who believe that it started with the vernal equinox. This is first day of spring in the Northern Hemisphere, when Mother Nature fooled people with changing, unpredictable weather.
Best April Fool’s Pranks
April Fools’ has turned into a day where corporations take part in some obvious and not-so-obvious jokes. There have been some crazy pranks over the years.
“In 1992, National Public Radio ran a spot with former President Richard Nixon saying he was running for president again… only it was an actor, not Nixon, and the segment was all an April Fools’ Day prank that caught the country by surprise.”History.com
On Monday, April 1, 1974, residents of Sitka, Alaska saw Mount Edgecumbe, a volcano that has been dormant for 400 years, smoking. Authorities were called to investigate. It turned out that someone had flown tires and set them on fire. And spray-painted in the snow beside the tires, in 50-foot-high black letters, were the words “APRIL FOOL.”
On April 1, 1957, the BBC TV show “Panorama” ran a segment about the Swiss spaghetti harvest, enjoying a “bumper year” thanks to mild weather and the elimination of the spaghetti weevil. A surprising amount of people actually believed it to be true!
“In 1896, a newlywed farmer in Tennessee in the US scared his wife to death. On April Fool’s day, the farmer, identified as John Ahrens, disguised himself as a tramp and put on a white face mask. He then knocked on the door. When his wife saw him, she lost consciousness and died of shock within an hour. He had not imagined that the prank would have such a tragic consequence.”Times Now News
On an undetermined April 1 in the 1840s, a story appeared in the Boston Post announcing that a cave full of treasure had been discovered beneath Boston Common. In fact, a lot of newspapers have fun with April Fool’s pranks! Read more about those here.
Summary: April Fools’ Pranks
April Fools’ pranks may seem silly and childish, but they bring smiles to a lot of faces. Especially after the challenging year we’ve had, I enjoyed every joke I saw! It was also fun seeing reactions to my own prank; everyone seemed amused by it, which brought me joy.