April Fool’s Day
The annual custom of playing jokes and hoaxes on 1st April dates back many centuries and has become known as April Fool’s Day. However, although we know it dates back many centuries and celebrated by many cultures, it’s exact origins remain a mystery.
Jokesters often expose their actions by shouting “April Fools” at their victims.
Many historians have suggested that April Fools Day originates in 1582 when the French switched from the Julian calendar to the Gregorian calendar. The Julian calendar similar to the Hindu calendar celebrated the New Year with the Spring Equinox, around April the first.
As news was slow to receive in remote areas and many refused to recognise that the start of the New Year had moved to January 1st they continued to celebrate the New Year during the last week of March through to 1st April. These became the butt of jokes and hoaxes and were called “April Fools”.
In some parts of Europe and especially France, 1st April is known as April Fish Day. It is thought that this is because the rivers and streams are full of Fish around 1st April and as such are easy to catch. Known as “Foolish Fish”. And so it soon became a tradition to play tricks on people on April 1st too. This may explain the traditional popular practice by French school children, of placing a paper cut out drawing of a fish onto an unsuspecting person back.
This practice was further developed in Scotland. Many children would play pranks by pining fake tails or “Kick ME” signs on other people, behinds.
April Fools day spread throughout Britain during the 18th Century. In Scotland it became a two day event. The first being known as “Hunting the Gowk”. Gowk being a word for the Cuckoo bird, a symbol of the Fool. This would be followed by Tailie Day, where the above practice of attaching signs to peoples behinds was carried out.
In modern times, people have gone to great lengths to create elaborate April Fools’ Day hoaxes. Newspapers, radio and TV stations and websites have participated in the April 1 tradition of reporting outrageous fictional claims that have fooled their audiences.
In 1957, a famous BBC report that featured Swiss Farmers who were experiencing a record crop of spaghetti and showed footage of the farmers harvesting the spaghetti from tree’s.
In 1996, Taco Bell, the fast-food restaurant chain, duped people when it announced it had agreed to purchase Philadelphia’s Liberty Bell and intended to rename it the Taco Liberty Bell.
In 1998, after Burger King advertised a “Left-Handed Whopper,” scores of clueless customers requested the fake sandwich.
In 1992 many of Persians were up in arms when a French Newspaper Le Parisien, claimed that the Eiffel Tower would be moved to Disneyland in Paris.
In Tarot, The Fool Card is the first card of the Major Arcana.
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