April Fools' Day

Just thought I’d share this, it was sent to me from History.com:

April 1: General Interest
1700 : April Fools tradition popularized

On this day in 1700, English pranksters begin popularizing the annual
tradition of April Fools’ Day by playing practical jokes on each
other.

Although the day, also called All Fools’ Day, has been celebrated for
several centuries by different cultures, its exact origins remain a
mystery. Some historians speculate that April Fools’ Day dates back to
1582, when France switched from the Julian calendar to the Gregorian
calendar, as called for by the Council of Trent in 1563. People who
were slow to get the news or failed to recognize that the start of the
new year had moved to January 1 and continued to celebrate it during
the last week of March through April 1 became the butt of jokes and
hoaxes. These included having paper fish placed on their backs and
being referred to as “poisson d’avril” (April fish), said to symbolize
a young, easily caught fish and a gullible person.

Historians have also linked April Fools’ Day to ancient festivals such
as Hilaria, which was celebrated in Rome at the end of March and
involved people dressing up in disguises. There’s also speculation
that April Fools’ Day was tied to the vernal equinox, or first day of
spring in the Northern Hemisphere, when Mother Nature fooled people
with changing, unpredictable weather.

April Fools’ Day spread throughout Britain during the 18th century. In
Scotland, the tradition became a two-day event, starting with “hunting
the gowk,” in which people were sent on phony errands (gowk is a word
for cuckoo bird, a symbol for fool) and followed by Tailie Day, which
involved pranks played on people’s derrieres, such as pinning fake
tails or “kick me” signs on them.

In modern times, people have gone to great lengths to create elaborate
April Fools’ Day hoaxes. Newspapers, radio and TV stations and Web
sites have participated in the April 1 tradition of reporting
outrageous fictional claims that have fooled their audiences. In 1957,
the BBC reported that Swiss farmers were experiencing a record
spaghetti crop and showed footage of people harvesting noodles from
trees; numerous viewers were fooled. In 1985, Sports Illustrated
tricked many of its readers when it ran a made-up article about a
rookie pitcher named Sidd Finch who could throw a fastball over 168
miles per hour. 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.

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