April Fools' Day

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April Fools' Day
April Fools' Day
An "April Fools' Day" hoax marking the construction of the Copenhagen Metro in 2001
Also calledAll Fools' Day
TypeCultural, Western
SignificancePractical pranks
DateApril 1

April Fools' Day (also known as April Fool's Day) is celebrated in many countries on April 1 every year. On this day, practical jokes (or April Fools) are played on friends and family. The jokes are done to embarrass them. In some countries, April Fools only last until noon, and if someone plays a joke after, they are an April Fool.

Origins[change | change source]

People have set aside a special day for playing jokes for centuries. The ancient Romans had a holiday called Hilaria.

In the Middle Ages, New Year's Day was celebrated on March 25 in most European towns. In some areas of France, New Year's was a week-long holiday ending on April 1. Some people think that April Fools' started because those who celebrated on January 1 made fun of those who celebrated on other dates.

Long standing customs[change | change source]

United Kingdom[change | change source]

In the U.K., a person playing a joke would yell "April Fool!" at the recipient. According to tradition, the joking was supposed to stop at midday.[1]

Nordic countries[change | change source]

In the Nordic countries, many news outlets would publish or broadcast a fake news story on April 1.

France[change | change source]

In France, an April fools joke is called a "Poisson d'Avril'. One tradition there is to try and stick a paper fish on one's friends back, and shout "Poisson d'Avril!' when it is discovered.

Media outlets[change | change source]

Sometimes a large media corporation would broadcast or publish a fake news story on April 1. For example, in 1957 the BBC broadcast a story about spaghetti trees. According to the story, people in Switzerland grew spaghetti on trees. Later, many people called the BBC asking how they could get a spaghetti tree.

Notes[change | change source]

Other websites[change | change source]

Media related to April Fools' Day at Wikimedia Commons