Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Happy April Fools' Day!

The origins of April Fools' Day are murky, but the likeliest explanation is that it began as a way to mock French people who were slow to switch to the Gregorian Calendar which changed New Year's from April 1st to January 1st.

These folks were labeled "fools" and some were sent on "fools' errands."

Of course there are alternate theories, specifically ones that ascribe the informal holiday to the cultural impact of the Hilaria Festival of ancient Rome and the Holi Celebration in India.

The Museum of Hoaxes has a complete collection of all the theories, but the real problem with explaining April Fools' Day is that you never quite know when someone is trying to fool you with their explanation.

My favorite example comes from Professor Joseph Boskin of Boston University. Boskin explained that the holiday stemmed from a moment of political unrest under Constantine, when a group of court jesters said they could run the empire better than he could. He claimed that Constantine was amused so he let a jester named Kugel be king for a day. That day was April 1st.

The press ran this theory in 1983, only to find out it was Boskin's prank on the American public.

The real fun though is pulling a prank yourself.

So, go on and make some prank phone calls, change the time on a clock, heat up a door handle, tape up a computer mouse, tie up a sink sprayer, strategically apply some vaseline to surfaces, glue a quarter to the floor, exchange the salt and the sugar, or just hide and scare the heck out of someone.

Make a fool out of somebody and have a happy April Fools' Day.

Top One Hundred April Fools' Day Hoaxes Of All Time


Anonymous Anonymous said...

but make sure you do it before midday.....

1/4/09 15:54  
Blogger The Unbearable Banishment said...

One of the bloggers I follow said she was going to start charging $1 per post to read her blog and I believed her. What a dope. Hook, line and sinker.

1/4/09 19:29  
Blogger Digital Fortress said...

That is a good one. I couldn't think of a prank post that hadn't been done already, so just went informational.

1/4/09 19:42  
Blogger Shey said...

Good read! Very interesting history.

I read 2 bloggers that said they will stop blogging due to personal reasons. Yeah, right! I didn't go for that.

The other blogger got me though. It's such a good read until the catch at the end. Click link and read for yourself. Awesome April Fool's story

I pulled one on my hubby too, saying I changed my mind and will meet him for lunch. harharhar. He believed I was right there at his building. wwahh! I know, lame..but he fell for it! Priceless!

1/4/09 21:40  
Anonymous fidelio said...

Obama didn't really win the election! America is not getting ruined! April Fool!

1/4/09 22:51  
Anonymous Sharp As A Marble said...

I hope you had a lot of fun pranking and getting pranked on April Fools' Day.

2/4/09 10:10  
Anonymous Mike Casey said...

I had no idea that April Fools Day was involved in the switch of the calendar. Very interesting - thanks for the info! You know, April Fools Day is a lot more popular in China than it is in America - and they're the ones mimicking our tradition. Ironic. One of the best April Fools pranks ever was the South Park one in 1998 where they were going to show the second part of an episode and say who Eric Cartman's real father was. They showed something totally different instead and a lot of people got really mad! LOL I remember - I was one of them. They did a reference to it in this year's April Fool's episode.

2/4/09 16:03  
Blogger Big Daddy said...

This is old news now, but I was actually born on April 1, at 11:59 PM.

My mom begged and pleaded with the doctor to not let me grow up as an April Fool's baby, so my birth certificate reads 'April 2 12:01 AM'.

No joke.

I celebrate both days.

Ha ha.

11/4/09 21:33  

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