April Fools!!!

Is April Fools’ The Biggest Joke Around?

Julia McRae, Staff Writer

`April Fools’ Day is a holiday celebrated on the first day of April.  During April Fools’, people participate in various hoaxes and jokes. It is celebrated in the United States, United Kingdom (UK), Brazil, France, Greece, India, Poland, and more. Different countries celebrate this holiday in different ways. For instance, those in France celebrate by putting fish images on people’s backs and people in the UK can only pull pranks unit noon. 

Despite the fact that April Fools’ Day is a well-known holiday, many historians still don’t know its true origin. Could April Fools’ truly be a joke itself? There are many varying conjectures of the history behind when it started and where it came from. Some say it dates back to 1582 when France switched from the Julian calendar to the Gregorian calendar, which is what we use today. While others believe that April Fools’ is linked to festivals and traditions. 

According to The History Channel, ‘April Fools’ Day spread throughout Britain during the 18th century. The tradition began in Scotland, which involved a two-day event where people were sent on phony errands, “followed by Tailie Day, which involved pranks played on people’s derrieres, such as pinning fake tails or “kick me” signs on them.” 

From the 18th century to the 20th century, society has used mass communication to take part in more sophisticated jokes and pranks. This led to April Fools’ becoming much more popular and well-known. 

Mass media, including television shows, broadcasts, radio stations, and websites have also made an appearance in the April 1st tradition. For example, Pasta grows on trees was a prank that BBC TV pulled on many people about how a family in southern Switzerland harvested spaghetti from their family “spaghetti tree.” Another funny hoax was the the taco liberty bell when Taco bell had pranked people that they bought the Liberty Bell as their own. Lastly, left-handed toilet paper was a joke by Cottenelle where they introduced left-handed toilet paper.

Do-it-yourself color TV was also one of the biggest April Fools’ pranks of all time. In 1962, the Sweden National Network convinced people that they could produce light from their daily broadcast shows by placing and stretching a pair of nylon stockings over the screen. They explained that these nylon stockings would alter the light’s wavelength and therefore, produce color on the screen. On this day, many people sadly lost their stockings from this funny, but believable hoax. 

Similarly, in 1992, the National Public Radio ran a broadcast on former President Richard Nixon explaining that he was going to run for president again. Instead, this was an actor that fooled everyone and caught the country in shock. 

Although many large companies and corporations participate in this holiday, most people aren’t aware of the fact that April Fools’ is technically supposed to end at noon on April 1st. According to Metro, “Dating back to at least the 1700s, the rules state you can’t delay your jokes until the afternoon. Anyone telling pranks afternoon is considered to be the fool themselves – as they either don’t know the proper rules, or have failed to properly acknowledge them.” Along with this, some say it’s even bad luck to commence hoaxes and jokes in the afternoon. 

But who exactly enjoys these jokes? According to Changing America, 45 percent of U.S. adults are amused by April Fools’ pranks, comapred to the 47 percent that find the jokes and hoaxes annoying. Changing America also found that adults under the age of 30 are the only people that find the pranks amusing. This relates to the fact that April Fools’ is a holiday that many people from the younger generation participate in. 

Some NBW students enjoy pranking their friends and family on April Fools’ Day. “I put frosting on sponges to make them look like brownies,” Freshman Skylar Jakubiak said. “April Fools’ is a day when you have a pass to do anything you want. It’s a great time.” 

While others get pranked by their friends and family. Meghan Schultz, a senior at NBW, described her experience on April Fools’, “When I was in elementary school,” Schultz explained, “my parents usually woke us up for school, but my dad said that we were late for school. So we all got ready just for him to say April Fools’.” 

Overall, April Fools’ is a holiday when people have the opportunity to pull pranks, get pranked, and laugh at pranks. April Fools’ can happen anywhere, at any time. Watch your back on April Fools’! Otherwise, you may be one of the many that will be fooled.