April Fools’ Day 愚人节!
Celebrated on April 1 each year—has been celebrated for several centuries by different cultures, though its exact origins remain a mystery.
History of April Fools’ Day
Some historians speculate that April Fools’ Day dates back to 1582, when France switched from the Julian calendar to the Gregorian calendar. In the Julian Calendar the new year began with the spring equinox around April 1.
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 and were called “April fools.”
April Fools’ Day Pranks
For the average trickster, there is always the classic April Fools’ Day prank of covering the toilet with plastic wrap or switching out sugar and salt.
But 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 1985, Sports Illustrated writer George Plimpton tricked many readers when he ran a made-up article about a rookie pitcher named Sidd Finch who could throw a fastball over 168 miles per hour.
- In 1992, National Public Radio ran a spot with former President Richard Nixon saying he was running for president again… only it was an actor, not Nixon, and the segment was all an April Fools’ Day prank that caught the country by surprise.
- 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.
- Google notoriously hosts an annual April Fools’ Day prank that has included everything from “telepathic search” to the ability to play Pac Man on Google Maps.
Likely the best April fools…
In 1957, BBC Panorama reported that a happy Swiss family was harvesting their prized spaghetti trees. Unbeknownst to many viewers, the four-minute “news” segment, literally showed strands of cooked pasta dangling from the trees in a family vineyard, an intricate April Fools’ Day hoax produced for a paltry 100 pounds.