Here’s a little background on the day that has us all looking forward to it all year. And a look at some of the biggest pranks on people over the years and not necessarily by kids!
Hey guys! Its April Fools day today and I am sure you have had loads of fun all day long! Write in to tell us some of the pranks you have played on family, friends and in school!
The origins of this fun tradition are sketchy. Some believe that the light-hearted fun began when the world transitioned from the Julian calendar (which began the New Year in April) to the Gregorian calendar that we use today.
In the 16th century, France celebrated the New Year just like we do today, except they partied on April 1st. In 1562, Pope Gregory changed the calendar to the one we use today and from then on, the New Year began on January 1st. A lot of people didn’t know about the new calendar, or they ignored the new calendar and kept celebrating on April 1st. Every one else called them April Fools and played tricks on them.
In France today, April 1st is called Poisson d’Avril, which means April Fish. Children tape paper fish to their friends’ backs and when the young “fool” finds out, the prankster yells “Poisson d’Avril!”
In England, tricks can only be played in the morning.
In Scotland, you are called an “April gowk,” which is another name for a cuckoo bird.
In Portugal, April Fools’ is celebrated on the Sunday and Monday before Lent. Pranksters
usually throw flour at their friends!
Here are some of the best-known jokes played on folks on April Fools Day:
In 1878 when The Daily Graphic newspaper announced that Thomas Edison (scientist and inventor) had created a device that could transform soil into vegetables and meat, and water into wine, nobody doubted it for a second. So strong was Edison’s reputation as an inventor! It was only later on that people realized the article had been published on April 1st!
In 1962, Sweden’s only television station, Sveriges Television that broadcast in black and white, announced that they had found an easy way to transform all programming to color.
On April 1st, the station’s technical expert Kjell Stensson, instructed viewers to cut open a nylon stocking, tape it to their television screens and wait for the magic to happen. He did caution them that the transformation would only be visible from a certain distance and that they would have to move their heads back and forth to get perfect alignment. Thousands of people later admitted getting completely taken in by the prank.
The normally staid BBC is a master when it comes to April Fool’s jokes. In 1961, they aired an interview with a professor from London University who had invented a new technology called “smellovision” which enabled viewers to smell the aromas emanating at the television studio from the comfort of their homes.
The professor asked the audience to test the technology and let him know if they could smell the coffee and onions that were in the television studio. The phones were soon ringing off the hook with viewers claiming that the smells were so strong that they felt like they were in the television studio. Many claimed the onions made their eyes water!