April Fools' Day
or All Fools'
is a day celebrated in many countries on April 1
. The day is marked by the commission of
and other practical jokes
of varying sophistication on
, and neighbors
, or sending them on a fool's errand
, the aim of which is to embarrass
the gullible. Traditionally
, in some countries, such as the UK,
Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa the jokes only last until
, and someone who plays a trick after noon
is called an "April Fool". Elsewhere, such as in Ireland, Russia,
Netherlands, Canada, and
the U.S., the jokes last all day.
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
; the term referred to someone still adhering to the
, 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 may have been someone who did this prematurely. Another
possible origin lies in the fact that when King Charles IX of
France officially changed the first day of the year from April 1 to
January 1, some of his subjects continued using the old
In the eighteenth century the festival was often posited as going
back to the time of Noah
. According to an
English newspaper article published April 13, 1789, the day had its
origin when Noah sent his dove off too early, before the waters had
receded; he did this on the first day of the Hebrew month that
corresponds with April.
A possible reference to April Fools' Day can be seen in the
(ca 1400) in the
Nun's Priest's tale, a tale of two fools (Chanticleer and the fox),
which took place on March 32.
- Alabama Changes the Value of Pi: The April
1998 newsletter of New Mexicans for Science and Reason
contained an article written by physicist Mark Boslough claiming that the Alabama Legislature had voted to change
the value of the mathematical constant pi. This
claim originally appeared as a news story in the 1961 science
fiction novel Stranger in
a Strange Land by Robert
- Spaghetti trees:
The BBC television programme Panorama ran a famous hoax in
1957, showing Italians harvesting spaghetti from trees. They had claimed that the
despised pest, the spaghetti weevil, had been eradicated. A large
number of people contacted the BBC wanting to know how to cultivate
their own spaghetti trees. It was, in fact, filmed in St Albans.
- Left Handed Whoppers:
In 1998, Burger King ran an ad in
USA Today, saying that people could get a
Whopper for left-handed people whose
condiments were designed to drip out of the right side. Not only
did customers order the new burgers, but
some specifically requested the "old", right-handed burger.
Liberty Bell: In 1996, Taco
Bell took out a full-page advertisement in The New York Times announcing that
they had purchased the Liberty Bell to "reduce the country's
debt" and renamed it the "Taco Liberty Bell."
about the sale, White
House press secretary Mike McCurry replied
tongue-in-cheek that the Lincoln Memorial had also been sold and would henceforth be known as
the Lincoln Mercury Memorial.
- San Serriffe:
The Guardian printed a
supplement in 1977 praising this fictional resort, its two main
islands (Upper Caisse and Lower Caisse), its capital (Bodoni), and its leader (General Pica). Intrigued readers were later
disappointed to learn that San Serriffe
(sans serif) did not exist except as
references to typeface terminology. (This comes from a Jorge Luis Borges story.)
- DT Day: In 2008 fliers were handed on Brigham
Young University campus, saying that the last in a series of dorm
buildings being torn down was scheduled to be imploded on April 1.
Hundreds of people eagerly turned up to see the implosion, but to
their consternation it never happened. The culprits of this prank
- Metric time:
Repeated several times in various countries, this hoax involves
claiming that the time system will be changed to one in which units
of time are based on powers of 10.
In 1965, the BBC purported to conduct a trial of
a new technology allowing the transmission of odor over the airwaves to all viewers. Many viewers
reportedly contacted the BBC to report the trial's success. In
2007, the BBC website repeated an online version of the hoax.
- Tower of Pisa: The Dutch television news reported in the 1950s that the
Tower of Pisa had fallen over. Many shocked people contacted
- Write Only
Memory: Signetics advertised
Write Only Memory IC databooks in
1972 through the late 1970s.
- The Canadian news site bourque.org
announced in 2002 that Finance Minister Paul Martin had resigned "in order to breed
prize Charolais cattle and handsome Fawn Runner ducks."
- Annual BMW Innovations see a new
"cutting-edge invention" by BMW advertised across British newspapers every
year, examples including:
- Warning against counterfeit BMWs: the blue and white parts of
the logo were reversed
- The "Toot and Calm Horn" (after Tutankhamun), which calms rather than aggravates
other drivers, so reducing the risk of road rage,
- MINI cars being used in upcoming space
missions to Mars,
- Zoom Impression Pixels ("ZIP") to counter
new "Slow Cameras" (2000),
- SHEF ("Satellite Hypersensitive Electromagnetic
Foodration") Technology, which sees the car's GPS systems
synchronise with home appliances to perfectly cook a meal for the
instant you return home (2001),
- Marque-Wiper - mini-wipers for each
exterior "BMW" logo coming as standard on all future models
- Tyre Pressure Control - adjust the
pressure on the tyres without slowing down (2003),
- IDS ("Insect Deflector Screen") Technology
- using elastic solutions to bounce insects off the windscreen as
you drive (2004),
- Midnight in the City - An offer for a 15ft
x 5ft ceramic "statuette" (sic) by "legendary Prussian ceramist,
Loof Lirpa" (2005),
- "Uninventing the wheel" to counter the
"EU ban" on right-hand drive cars
- "BMW Instant Messaging" - using Reactive
User Sound Electronic (RUSE) particles to display the driver's
words to the car in front on the windscreen (2007),
- Canine Repellent Alloy Protection (CRAP)-
a means of discouraging dogs from urinating on car wheels. (2008)
- BMW Magnetic Tow Technology (MTT) - 'This ingenious new system
locks onto the car in front via an enhanced magnetic beam. Once
your BMW is attached, you are free to release your foot from the
accelerator and turn off your engine. The vehicle in front will
then 'do the pulling' without noticing any change in
manoeuverability. When turning off MTT, we suggest a curteous flick
of the headlights to let the obliging driver in front know you are
leaving them. It is important to note that MTT does not work
without another vehicle. Please email Uve.Vollenvorit@bmw.co.uk
(you've fallen for it)' (2009)
- A compact disc available to all BMW owners, which when played
over the audio system performed minor service and diagnostic
checks; when flipped over it played soothing classical music
By radio stations
- BBC Radio 4 (2005): The Today Programme announced in
the news that the long-running serial The Archers had changed their theme tune to
an upbeat disco style.
- Death of a mayor: In 1998,
local WAAF shock jocks Opie and
Anthony reported that Boston mayor Thomas Menino
had been killed in a car accident. Menino happened to be on
a flight at the time, lending credence to the prank as he could not
be reached. The rumor spread quickly across the city, eventually
causing news stations to issue alerts denying the hoax. The pair
were fired shortly thereafter.
- Phone call: In 1998, UK presenter Nic Tuff of West
Midlands radio station Kix 96 pretended
to be the British Prime Minister Tony
Blair when he called the then South African President Nelson Mandela for a chat. It was only at the
end of the call when Nic asked Nelson what he was doing for April
Fools' Day that the line went dead.
gravitational effect: In 1976, British astronomer
Sir Patrick Moore told listeners
of BBC Radio 2 that unique alignment of
two planets would result in an upward gravitational pull making
people lighter at precisely 9:47 a.m. that day. He invited his
audience to jump in the air and experience "a strange floating
sensation." Dozens of listeners phoned in to say the experiment had
- "National Public Radio" Every year National Public Radio in the United
States does an extensive news story on April 1. These usually start
off more or less reasonably, and get more and more unusual. A
recent example is the story on the "iBod" a portable body control
device. In 2008 it reported that the IRS, to assure rebate checks
were actually spent, was shipping consumer products instead of
checks. It also runs false sponsor mentions, such as "Support for
NPR comes from the Soylent Corporation, manufacturing protein-rich food
products in a variety of colors. Soylent
Green is People.”
- Three-dollar coin: In 2008, CBC Radio program As It
Happens interviewed a Royal
Canadian Mint spokesman who broke "news" of plans to replace
the Canadian five-dollar bill with a three-dollar coin. The coin
was dubbed a "threenie", in line with the nicknames of the
country's one-dollar coin (commonly called a "loonie" due to its depiction of a common loon on the reverse) and two-dollar coin
- U2 Live on Rooftop in Cork:
In 2009 hundreds of U2 fans were duped in an
elaborate prank when they rushed to a shopping centre in Blackrock
in Cork believing
that the band were playing a surprise rooftop concert. The
prank was organised by Cork radio station RedFM. The band were in fact just a tribute band
- Country to Metal: Country and gospel WIXE in Monroe, North
Carolina does a prank every year. In 2009, midday
host Bob Rogers announced he was changing his show to heavy metal. This resulted in numerous
phone calls, but about half were from listeners wanting to request
By television stations
- In 1962 the Swedish national
television did a 5-minute special on how one could get color TV
by placing a nylon stocking in front of the TV. A rather in-depth
description on the physics behind the phenomena was included.
- After over fifty years, the 1957 BBC report
of the purported bumper annual spaghetti harvest (see
above) remains one of the most successful TV hoaxes of all
1980, the BBC reported a proposed change to the
famous clock tower known as Big Ben. The
reporters stated that the clock would go digital.
- The Trouble with
Tracy: In 2003, The
Comedy Network in Canada announced that it would produce and
air a remake of the 1970s Canadian sitcom
The Trouble with Tracy. The original series is widely
considered to be one of the worst sitcoms ever produced. Several
media outlets fell for the hoax.
- In 2004, British breakfast show GMTV
produced a story claiming that Yorkshire Water were trialing a new
'diet tap water' that had already helped one customer lose a stone
and a half in four months. After heralding the trial as successful,
it was claimed that a third tap would be added to kitchen sinks,
allowing customers easy access to the water. Following the story,
Yorkshire Water received 10,000 enquiries from viewers.
- In 2006, the BBC reported that the door to
No. 10 Downing Street, the official residence of the Prime Minister
of the United Kingdom, had been painted red. They showed footage of
workmen carrying a red door. Red was the official colour of the
political party which formed the government at the time. The same
story was also reported in the British newspaper, The Daily Mail which credited the new design
to April Fewell. The door is in fact black.
- In 2008, the BBC reported on a newly
discovered colony of flying penguins. An
elaborate video segment was even produced, featuring Terry Jones (of Monty Python fame) walking with the
penguins in Antarctica, and following their flight to the Amazon
- On Comedy Central, the creators of South
Park aired a fake episode of Terrance and Phillip titled "Terrance and Phillip
in Not Without My Anus" instead of running the season premiere
which was supposed to reveal the father of Eric Cartman. This caused angered fans to write
about 2,000 complaints to Comedy
Central in the week following the broadcast. The incident was
parodied in the Season 13 episode Eat,
Pray, Queef, the first episode to broadcast on April Fool's day
since the incident.
By magazines, newspapers, and books
- George Plimpton wrote a 1985
article in Sports
Illustrated about a New York
Mets prospect named Sidd
Finch, who could throw a fastball with pinpoint accuracy. This kid, known as
"Barefoot" Sidd[hartha] Finch, reportedly learned to pitch in a
Buddhist monastery. The first letter of
each word in the article subhead spelled out the fact of its being
an April Fool joke.
- Lies to Get You Out of the House: In 1985, the
L.A. Weekly printed an entire page of fake
things to do on April Fools' Day, by which hundreds of people were
- Comic strip
switcheroo: Cartoonists of
popularly syndicated comic strips draw each others' strips. In some
cases, the artist draws characters in the other strip's milieu,
while in others, the artist draws in characters from other visiting
characters from his own. Cartoonists have done this sort of
"switcheroo" for several years. The 1997 switch was particularly
- Coldplay to back the Tories - On April 1 2006
the UK Guardian journalist "Olaf Priol"
claimed that Chris Martin of rock band
Coldplay had decided to publicly support
the UK Conservative Party
leader David Cameron due to his
disillusionment with previous Labour
Party prime minister Tony Blair, even going so far as to produce a
fake song, "Talk to David", that could be downloaded via the
Guardian website. Despite being an obvious hoax, the Labour Party's
Media Monitoring Unit were concerned enough to circulate the story
throughout "most of the government".
- President Barack Obama
pulls fundings for NASCAR - On April
1, 2009, on the heels of the auto industry
bailout, Car and Driver claimed
on their website that President Barack Obama had ordered Chevrolet and Dodge to pull
NASCAR funding. The article was removed from the website and
replaced with an apology to readers, after upset NASCAR fans
protested on the Car and Driver website. Conservative pundit Ann
Coulter notably fell for the joke.
- The Guardian to publish to Twitter: On April 1
2009 The Guardian announced that it would be the first newspaper to
publish exclusively on Twitter.
- LamePro - Videogame magazine GamePro once featured a gag section entitled
"LamePro" in its April issues,
featuring joke videogaming articles and reviews. The practice was
abandoned after a magazine redesign in 2007.
By game shows
- As part of an April Fools' joke on April 1, 1997, Alex Trebek and Pat
Sajak switched hosting duties. Sajak hosted Jeopardy! that day (which featured several
Wheel-inspired categories) and Trebek hosted Wheel of Fortune
where Sajak and Vanna White played as
contestants. Jeopardy! announcer Johnny
Gilbert did double duties that day while regular Wheel of
Fortune announcer Charlie O'Donnell announced some parts including
the opening with Gilbert as well as telling Sajak and White that
they won $25,000. A puzzle during the episode also featured
as an answer. Sajak's performance on Jeopardy! as host was
widely praised by fans.
- On April 1, 2003, Game Show
Network played a prank by having hosts from their own shows
guest host on other hosts' shows similar to 1997 when Pat Sajak
hosted Jeopardy! and Alex Trebek hosted Wheel of
Fortune. Graham Elwood from
Cram guest hosted
Press Your Luck regularly hosted by Todd Newton. Mark
Walberg from Russian Roulette guest
hosted on Friend or Foe?
regularly hosted by Kennedy.
Newton from Whammy! guest hosted Russian Roulette
reguarly hosted by Walberg. Kennedy from Friend or Foe?
guest hosted WinTuition
regularly hosted by Marc Summers.
Summers from WinTuition guest hosted Cram
regularly hosted by Elwood. The only show that didn't have a guest
host was Lingo hosted
by Chuck Woolery. Woolery still hosted while the other hosts,
Walberg and Summers on the yellow team, and Kennedy and Elwood on
the red team, played against each other for charity. Newton was the
announcer that day.
- On April 1, 2008, Jeopardy! played another joke by
having Alex Trebek appear with a false mustache, a reference to the
minor controversy that followed when he shaved his off in 2001. The
fake was gone by the Double Jeopardy round. Also, Wheel of
Fortune played another joke by having Pat Sajak reveal that he
is bald by taking off his toupee. Like the mustache on Jeopardy!,
the toupee was fake as Sajak actually has real hair.
- The Price Is
Right has often celebrated the day by featuring Showcase with assortments of gags, which have
often included joke prizes (such as cheap items or trips to
fictitious locations), or gags involving their presentation (such
as most of the prizes being broken throughout the course of the
skit). In most cases, once the contestant learned that it was an
April Fools' joke, the real Showcase would consist of extravagant
prizes, such as luxury and sports cars. The practice is best known
from the 1980s, but was revived in the Drew
Carey era in 2008.
- The 2009 April Fools' Day show spread unusual occurrences
throughout the entire episode, including the contestants and crew
wearing Groucho glasses, the opening
containing assorted errors, gags involving the presentation of
prizes offered (such as a car being displayed with an abundance of
parking tickets), a game of Most Expensive featuring three different
clocks from the same manufacturer, the Showcase Showdown's wheel played different
sound effects, and music from Match
Game played as think music and as the ending theme. The
two Showcases did not contain "joke" prizes, but gags still
occurred, such as a stove displayed with flaming pots, a trip to
the Meditteranean portrayed with
irrelevant footage, and all the prizes in the entire second
Showcase being presented from their back sides. Kathy Kinney, in character as Carey's nemesis
Mimi Bobeck from The Drew Carey
Show, also made an appearance as a model throughout the
- In 2003, Hollywood
Squares producers played an April Fools joke on host Tom
Bergeron and the stars by booking two of the most difficult
contestants ever. The contestants were in fact actors similar to
what happened in 1987 to John
Davidson. Another moment happened on the Davidson version in
1988 when center square Joan Rivers
swapped places with Davidson to be host that day.
- In 1991, the short-lived syndicated game show The Challengers played a
prank on host Dick Clark and the three
contestants, champion Kurt Weldon and challengers Mike Dwight and
Meredith Kornfeld by showing six joke categories on the board for
round one, Pre-Columbian Architecture, The Politics of Burundi,
Quantum Physics, 14th Century Philosophers, Anaerobic Zoology, and
Existential Poets. Dwight, who was leading at the end of the Sprint
Round, picked Pre-Columbian Architecture and Clark asked what was
going on and the board showed a huge APRIL FOOL! message causing
Clark, the contestants, and the audience to laugh. Weldon admitted
that he would have "cleaned up on Burundi". Clark asked judge Gary
Johnson if it was his idea. Johnson said that it was appropriate
for the day although he agreed with Weldon that he wanted to see
about Burundi. Clark told Johnson to "go to his room" just before
they showed the real categories for round one.
- Kremvax: In 1984, in one of the earliest
on-line hoaxes, a message was circulated that Usenet had been opened to users in the Soviet Union.
- April Fools' Day RFC
- Google's hoaxes
- Neopets: The popular site Neopets runs
regular hoaxes, year after year. These can be anything from changes
in site design to announcements of free prizes. In fact, when new
designs for the Neopets pets were released, several users
complained and demanded to know if it was a "late April Fool's
joke." It wasn't.
- Dead fairy
hoax: In 2007, an illusion designer for magicians posted on his website some
images illustrating the corpse of an unknown eight-inch creation,
which was claimed to be the mummified
remains of a fairy. He later sold the fairy on
eBay for £280.
runs an annual hoax on April 1. In 2004, the hoax was that there
was a population bug and all nations' populations would be reset to
5 million people. In 2005, there was a message (supposedly from the
Department of Homeworld
Security) that NationStates was illegal by US law. In 2006,
NationDates was created. It used a quiz similar to the one
taken at the sign-up page, and matched that nation with a random
country in the same region. In 2007, many users received "Regional
moderator" icons with the promise that they would be able to "wield
their awesome power" over other users. For April Fools' Day 2008,
NationStates has created a new "World Assembly" in the place of the
United Nations, as they had received a cease and desist notice from
the United Nations for using its name without consent. This was
later revealed to be a non-hoax, and that the inspiration to use it
as an April Fools joke came from the assumption it was too
- Water on Mars: In 2005 a
news story was posted on the official NASA website
purporting to have pictures of water on Mars. The picture actually was just a picture of
a glass of water on a Mars Candy Bar.
- Microsoft Research
Reclaims Value of Pi: In 2008, an executive with the
Microsoft Institute for Advanced
Technology in Governments posted on his personal blog an updated
spoof of the 1998 April Fools hoax claiming Alabama's state
legislature had rounded the value of pi to the "Biblical value of
3." The 2008 hoax claimed that Microsoft Research had determined
the true-up value of pi to be a definitive 3.141999, or as
expressed in company literature, "Three easy payments of
- Assassination of Bill Gates: In 2003, many Chinese and
South Korean websites claimed that CNN reported
Bill Gates, the founder of Microsoft, was
assassinated, resulting in a 1.5% drop in the South Korean stock
market. (However, CNN is banned in the People's
Republic of China.)
- SARS Infects Hong Kong: In 2003 during the
time when Hong Kong was seriously hit by SARS, it was rumored that
many people in Hong Kong had become infected with SARS and become
uncontrolled, that all immigration ports would be closed to
quarantine the region, and that Tung Chee
Hwa, the Chief
Executive of Hong Kong at that time, had resigned. Hong Kong
supermarkets were immediately overwhelmed by panicked shoppers. The
Hong Kong government held a press conference to deny the rumor. The
rumor, which was intended as an April Fools' prank, was started by
a student by imitating the design of Ming
Pao newspaper website. He was charged for this incident.
- www.howstuffworks.com does an
annual bogus article. In 2006, it was "How Animated Tattoos Work";
in 2007 "How Phone Cell Implants Work"; in 2008 "How the Air Force
One Hybrid Works"; in 2009, "How Rechargeable Gum Works".
Sakriboto: In 2007, the Square
Enix fansite Square Haven reported that game music composers
Motoi Sakuraba and Hitoshi Sakimoto had announced a merger.
The resulting amalgamated life form was named Motoshi Sakriboto.
The hoax played off the fact that when rival role-playing game
developers SquareSoft and Enix merged on April 1, 2003, many
believed the news to be an April Fools' joke.
- In 2008, Australian video gaming website company MyMedia,
released information and previews on MyMedia: The Movie, the
supposed upcoming movie was to be animated and produced by the
Commission, it was confirmed fake a few days after. The movie
was supposedly based on a comic series created by one of the site's
editorial staff, Matt Kelly. This has since become an on going
website gag about over hyping the non-existent movie
through various additional trailers.
- ScoringSessions.com announced that composer John Williams was replaced by Danny Elfman on the upcoming Indiana Jones
and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull - and provided photos
from the scoring sessions.
- RISKS Digest often publishes a
special April 1 issue.
- ThinkGeek sends an e-newsletter
containing mostly false products each year. Several of these
products, such as the 8-Bit tie, were
eventually realized due to customer demand.
- IGN, a video game website, released a
realistic-looking Legend of Zelda
movie trailer on April Fool's Day 2007. Many people were excited
and tricked into believing that a real Legend of Zelda movie was
coming out, but IGN revealed that it was a fake. Later rumors were
spread that a real Legend of Zelda film is going to be
- YouTube - In 2008, All featured videos
on YouTube's front page hyperlinked to the Rickroll. The prank began with international
YouTube portals before appearing on the main site. In 2009 the
videos, links and most text (using Unicode
substitution) were turned upside down and there was also a link to
help users view the new site layout with hints such as hanging the
monitor upside-down or moving to Australia.
- Wookieepedia, the Star Wars Wiki has pulled numerous April Fools
pranks. In 2007, Wookieepedia's name was changed to "Katarnipedia"
after Star Wars character Kyle Katarn. In 2008, they changed all
the text of their main page to the Aurebesh
language, and directed vistitors to Wookieepedia's sister site
Darthipedia (which was actually the Star Wars Humor Wiki) to see
English language versions of Wookieepedia articles. In 2009,
Wookieepedia announced that they would no longer accept expanded universe material as canon and that the site would only accept
information from the Star Wars films, rejecting their long-held
policy of treating expanded universe material as equal to film
- gonullyourself.org appeared to be "infected" by
Conficker on 1st April 2009.
- Expedia ran a prank on 1st April 2009,
offering flights to Mars. This was internally known as Project Dawnstar.
- On April 1, 2009 ThinkGeek.com "introduced" the Tauntaun Sleeping Bag. Due to the overwhelming
popularity of this faux item, ThinkGeek is now attempting to bring
the item to market.
- On April 1, 2008, Blizzard released
images and articles onto their website depicting a new Hero class
for World of Warcraft, that was to
go along with the Death Knight in the expansion pack Wrath of the Lich King. They also
released an article on the Starcraft II website for the new "Tauren
Marine" for the Terrans.
Real news on April Fools' Day
The frequency of April Fools' hoaxes sometimes makes people doubt
real news stories released on April 1.
The 1946 April Fools' Day tsunami in
1979, Iran declared
April 1 its national Republic
Day. Thirty years on, this continues to be mistaken for
- 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.
April 1, 1999 The Canadian Northwest Territories was split, and the
territory now known as Nunavut came to be.
- 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
- 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
- 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.
- British sprinter Dwain Chambers
joined English rugby league team
Castleford Tigers shortly before
April 1, 2008. The athlete was attempting a return to top flight
athletics at the time following a high profile drugs ban, and his
apparent unfamiliarity with rugby led many people to assume this
was an April Fools' Day prank.
- Also on April 1, 2009, CBS announced the
cancellation of the daytime drama Guiding Light after 57 years with the
final episode scheduled to air September
April 1, 2009, A school was almost burned to the ground in the
Albertslund; apparently, the fire
department refused to believe that the news was true the first two
times that people called to report it.
- Also on April 1, 2009, a Virus/Worm was called Conficker and spread to millions of computers and
releasing personal info and deleting files. This was supposed to
be a joke, but random computers through out America were hit. Before this happened, news media
like, NBC, Fox News,
ABC and CBS told the viewers to install firewalls and updates to their Windows Computers before it hit.
Other prank days in the world
In the Babylonian and Assyrian Empires, the King would often be
spanked by the High priest to remind him of how much of a fool he
was in comparison to the gods.
Iranians play jokes on each other on the 13th day of the
Persian new year (Norouz), which falls on April 1 or April 2.
This day, celebrated as far back as 536 BC, is called Sizdah Bedar
and is the oldest prank-tradition
in the world still alive today; this fact has led many to believe
that April Fools' Day has its origins in this tradition.
The April 1 tradition in France and French-speaking Canada
includes poisson d'avril
fish"), attempting to attach a paper fish to the victim's back
without being noticed. This is also widespread in other nations,
such as Italy (where the term Pesce
(literally "April's fish") is also used to refer to
any jokes done during the day). In Spanish-speaking countries,
similar pranks are practiced on December 28, día de los Santos
, the "Day of the Holy
". This custom also exists in certain areas of
Belgium, including the province of Antwerp.
tradition is for children to lock out their parents or teachers,
only letting them in if they promise to bring treats the same
evening or the next day.
In Poland, prima aprilis
("April 1" in Latin
) is a day full of jokes;
various hoaxes are prepared by people, media (which sometimes
cooperate to make the "information" more credible) and even public
institutions. Serious activities are usually avoided. This
conviction is so strong that the anti-Turkish alliance with
April 1, 1683, was backdated to March 31.
In Scotland, April Fools' Day is traditionally called Hunt-the-Gowk
Day ("gowk" is Scots
for a cuckoo
or a foolish person), although this name has fallen into disuse.
The traditional prank is to ask someone to deliver a sealed message
requesting help of some sort. In fact, the message reads "Dinna
laugh, dinna smile. Hunt the gowk another mile". The recipient,
upon reading it, will explain he can only help if he first contacts
another person, and sends the victim to this person with an
identical message, with the same result. Also Scotland has 2 whole
days for pranks, April 1 and April 2.
In Denmark the 1st of May is known as "Maj-kat", meaning "May-cat",
and is identical to April Fools' Day, though Danes also celebrate
April Fools' Day ("aprilsnar").
In Spain and Ibero-America
equivalent date is December 28, Christian day of celebration of the
Massacre of the Innocents
The Christian celebration is a holiday in its own right, a
religious one, but the tradition of pranks not, though the latter
is observed yearly. After somebody plays a joke or a prank on
somebody else, the joker usually cries out, in Ibero-America:
"Inocente palomita que te dejaste engañar
innocent dove that allowed to get yourself fooled
), as a
popular expression. In Spain is common to say just
April Fools' Day in media
- The 1986 horror film April Fool's Day is themed
around the day (akin to Halloween).
the film The French
Connection, the opening scenes take place on April 1 and
show children in Marseille running around pinning poissons d'Avril
(April fish) on each other.
- The birthday of the mischievous twins, Fred and George Weasley from the
Harry Potter series is April 1.
- O. Stock, C. Strapparava & A. Nijholt (eds.) The April
Fools' Day Workshop on Computational Humour. Proc. Twente
Workshop on Language Technology 20 (TWLT20), ISSN 0929-0672,
ITC-IRST, Trento, Italy, April 2002, 146 pp
- In calendars published by Mad Magazine, April 1 is given as the birthday of Alfred
- It is also reputed to be the birthday of Earnest T. Bass, of
the Andy Griffith Show.
- KIDPROJ Multi-Cultural Calendar
- April Fools' Day Encyclopaedia Brittanica
- Olmert, Michael (1996). Milton's Teeth and Ovid's Umbrella:
Curiouser & Curiouser Adventures in History, p.186. Simon
& Schuster, New York. ISBN 0-684-80164-7.
- thirty-two days since March began
- Still a good joke - 47 years on (BBC News, April 1, 2004)
- Report: San Serriffe. The Guardian, April 1,
- Daily Universe see 4/2/2008 thru 4/4/2008
- BBC Smell-o-vision
- www.bmweducation.co.uk Annual BMW
- Fooling around, book extract in The
Guardian dated March 30, 2007, online at books.guardian.com
(accessed 29 March 2009)
- www.npr.org IBOD story
- Mark Washburn, "Fewer Tuning in for Most Local News,"
The Charlotte Observer, April 4, 2009.
- London April Fools
- http://www.gm.tv/index.cfm?articleid=10244 www.gm.tv -
"Diet tap water" - retrieved 02-04-2009
- Have you been April fooled? - BBC
- Flying penguins found by BBC programme -
- Fred Fedler, Media Hoaxes, Iowa State University Press, 1989,
- Song download (mp3)
- Obama, Nascar In April Fools Prank "Gone Too Far",
1 April 2009.
- April Fools: Ann Coulter falls for fake Obama
NASCAR story, 2 April 2009.
- www.youtube.com: Hollywood squares
E. S.: "The Jargon File", Kremvax entry, 2006
- " April fool fairy sold on internet" from
BBC News. Retrieved on
July 31, 2007.
Index of back issues April
1, 2006 April 1, 2007 (March 31, 2007)
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- ANNOUNCEMENT: The Future of Epiphany