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April Fools' Day

April Fools' Day or also known as All Fools' Day, although not a holiday in its own right, is a day celebrated in many countries on April 1. The day is marked by the commission of hoaxes and other practical jokes of varying sophistication on friends, family members, enemies, and neighbors, or sending them on a fool's errand, the aim of which is to embarrass the gullible (weird tradition isn't it ?)Traditionally, in some countries, the jokes only last until noon: like UK, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and South Africa, someone who plays a trick after noon is called an "April Fool". Elsewhere, such as in Ireland, France, and the USA, the jokes last all day.

Any how the quest of origin and the date from which the day is being celebrated is still haunting to many today. The origin of April Fools' Day is obscure. One likely theory is that the modern holiday was first celebrated soon after the adoption of the Gregorian Calendar; the term referred to someone still adhering to the Julian Calendar which it replaced. In many pre-Christian cultures May Day (May 1) was celebrated as the first day of summer, and signalled the start of the spring planting season. An April Fool was someone who did this prematurely.

April Fool’s Day has all the characteristics of a renewal festival. For one day forms of behavior that are normally not allowed (lying, deception, and playing pranks) become acceptable, and yet the disorder is bounded within a strict timeframe. Traditionally, no pranks are supposed to be played after 12 o’clock noon of the first. Social hierarchies and tensions are exposed, but hostility is defused with laughter.

For as long as people have been speculating about April Fool’s Day, they have noticed the similarities between it and other springtime “renewal” festivals. Many historians have theorized that April Fool’s Day evolved directly out of some such festival practiced in ancient times. A direct connection between April Fool’s Day and any of the Roman-era festivals seems unlikely, though it is quite possible that the tradition evolved out of a medieval festival held around the time of the Vernal equinox (such as the New Year’s festivals at the end of March, as discussed above). Nevertheless, there is no agreement about which festival the tradition of April Foolery developed out of. Below is a list of some of the festivals that have most frequently been suggested as its forerunners.

The most popular theory about the origin of April fool’s Day involves the French calendar reform of the sixteenth century. The theory goes like this :
  • French calendar reform
    In 1564 France reformed its calendar, moving the start of the year from the end of March to January 1. Those who failed to keep up with the change, who stubbornly clung to the old calendar system and continued to celebrate the New Year during the week that fell between March 25th and April 1st, had jokes played on them. Pranksters would surreptitiously stick paper fish to their backs. The victims of this prank were thus called Poisson d’Avril, or April Fish—which, to this day, remains the French term for April Fools—and so the tradition was born.
    The calendar-change hypothesis seems, on the surface, like a logical explanation for the origin of April Fools. However, the hypothesis becomes less plausible if we examine the history of calendar reform in more detail.
  • The Julian calendar
    The Julian Calendar, established by Julius Caesar in 46 BC, made January 1 the first day of the year. But as Christianity spread throughout Europe, efforts were made to christianize the calendar by moving New Year’s Day to dates of greater theological significance, such as Christmas or Easter. Some countries continued to use January 1, justifying this as the date of Christ’s circumcision. As a consequence, by the 1500s the European calendar system was a mess. Not only had errors in the Julian calendar caused the solar year to diverge from the calendar year, but also countries were beginning the year on different dates.
    Moreover, the French used Easter as the start of the year primarily for legal and administrative purposes. January 1, following the Roman custom, was widely regarded as the traditional start of the year, and it was the day when people exchanged gifts.
  • Sixteenth-Century Reform
    The practice of starting the year on Easter Day caused enormous practical inconvenience, so around 1500 many people in France began to use January 1 as the start of the calendar year. For instance, in early sixteenth-century French books, it is common to see both forms of dating listed side-by-side (for titles published in January, February, or March). By the mid-sixteenth century, a calendar system beginning on January 1 was in wide use in France. In 1563 King Charles IX decreed January 1 to be the first day of the year, thus aligning legal convention with what had become the popular practice. His edict was passed into law by the French Parliament on Dec. 22, 1564.
    Eighteen years later, in 1582, Pope Gregory issued a papal bull decreeing sweeping calendar reform. The Gregorian reform included moving the start of the year to January 1, as well as creating a leap-year system and eliminating ten days from the month of October 1582 in order to correct the drift of the calendar. The Pope had no formal power to make governments accept this reform, but he urged Christian nations to do so. France immediately accepted the reform, although it had already changed the start of the year in 1564. (Many histories of April Fool’s Day mistakenly suggest that France only moved the start of the year in 1582 when it accepted the Gregorian calendar reform in its entirety.)
With this history in mind, it becomes clear that the calendar-change hypothesis is a problematic explanation for the origin of April Fool’s Day. The switch to January 1 did not occur suddenly in France. It was a gradual process, spanning an entire century. And even before the switch, the French New Year had no obvious connection to April 1st.
At last, what we have here is a fairly clear reference to a custom of playing practical jokes on April 1st. So we can say that April Fool’s Day dates back at least to the sixteenth century. Because of this reference (and the other, vague French reference), historians believe that April Fool’s Day must have originated in continental northern Europe and then spread to Britain.

The April Fools is full of hoaxes, humor, laughter and enjoyment. The frequency of April Fools' hoaxes sometimes makes people doubt of real news. Here are some of the real news of april 1st which people took as hoaxes :
  • The 1946 April Fools' Day tsunami in Hilo, Hawaii. The April 1, 1946 Aleutian Island earthquake tsunami that killed 165 people in Hawaii and Alaska resulted in the creation of a tsunami warning system (specifically the Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre), established in 1949 for Pacific Ocean countries. The tsunami in question is known in Hawaii as the "April Fools' Day Tsunami" due to people drowning because of the assumptions that the warnings were an April Fools' prank.
  • The death of King George II of Greece on April 1, 1947.
  • The AMC Gremlin was first introduced on April 1, 1970.
  • On April 1, 1984, singer Marvin Gaye was shot and killed by his father. Originally, people assumed that it was a fake news story, especially considering the bizarre aspect of the father being the murderer.
  • On April 1, 1993, NASCAR Winston Cup Series Champion Alan Kulwicki was killed in a plane crash involving Hooters of America executives in Blountville, Tennessee near the Tri-Cities Airport. The party was traveling to the Food City 500 qualifying scheduled for the next day.
  • The merger of Square and its rival company, Enix, took place on April 1, 2003, and was originally thought to be a joke.
  • Leslie Cheung, one of Hong Kong's well-known singer and actor, committed suicide in 2003 due to severe depression.
  • Gmail's April 2004 launch was widely believed to be a prank, as Google traditionally perpetrates April Fools' Day hoaxes each April 1 (see Google's hoaxes.) Another Google-related event that turned out not to be a hoax occurred on April 1, 2007, when employees at Google's New York City office were alerted that a ball python kept in an engineer's cubicle had escaped and was on the loose. An internal e-mail acknowledged that "the timing…could not be more awkward" but that the snake's escape was in fact an actual occurrence and not a prank.
  • The 2005 death of comedian Mitch Hedberg was originally dismissed as an April Fools' joke. The comedian's March 29, 2005 death was announced on March 31, but many newspapers didn't carry the story until April 1, 2005.
  • On April 1, 2008, it was reported that UEFA would require the Swedish fast food chain Max to close their restaurant at the Borås Arena during the European Under-21 Football Championship due to a conflict with official sponsor McDonalds and a requirement that only official sponsors may operate around the arena. The arena was later replaced as a tournament site.
  • On April 1, 2008, Christian Persch announced that the GNOME desktop web browser Epiphany would be switched from Mozilla's Gecko engine to the WebKit engine used by Safari and KDE's equivalent application Konqueror
  • On 1 April 2009, Alan Shearer becomes caretaker manager of Newcastle United.
    Also on April 1st, 2009, CBS announced the cancelation of the daytime drama Guiding Light after 57 years with the final episode scheduled to air September 18, 2009.
If you're looking to really have a good laugh this year, you will definitely know what to do after you've read this. Because, what I'm going to do is share with you some great April Fools day pranks. That way, you'll be able get a good laugh this year pranking people.
The April Fools day pranks that you can do are :
  1. The first thing you can do is give someone a fake scratch off lotto ticket. Regardless if the person plays the lotto or not, this will be the perfect prank. To pull it off, all you need is a fake lotto ticket. Make up an excuse as to why you're giving it to them.
    After they scratch off the lotto ticket, it'll reveal that they've won $25,000. The expression on their face will be priceless.
  2. Another one of the best April Fools day pranks you can pull is to use a fart spray. You can use this at work, in a class, or anywhere. Or if you really want to get someone on April Fools day, you can spray their clothing with it. They'll stink all day long.
  3. The third prank you can do is to give away some trick candy. There are a lot of candies that you can use. Some will make someone's breath smell like fart or garlic. Or it'll turn their mouth blue or red. There are lots of things trick candies can do.
These are some April Fools day pranks that you can use this year. If you really want to get a good laugh and have fun, make sure you use the pranks that I mentioned above. It'll have you laughing so hard.


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