April Fool’s Day or All Fools’ Day, as it is sometimes called, is celebrated on April 1st every year. Despite having no official recognition and an uncertain origin, April 1st has long been observed as a day to celebrate foolishness.
April Fool’s Day has become THE most light hearted day of the year because humor reigns and harmless pranks, practical jokes, and hoaxes are all sanctioned. Customary rituals range from simple tricks played on friends, family, and coworkers to elaborate media hoaxes concocted for mass consumption. In the workplace, common prankster occurrences have been to send someone on a “fool’s errand” or to look for things that don’t exist. You might even get roped into furthering the joke that was played on you by recruiting the next person in line.
Don’t worry, superstition has it that the pranking period must expire @ noon because any jokes attempted after that time will bring bad luck onto the perpetrator. Additionally, anyone that fails to respond with good humor to any tricks played on them is said to attract bad luck to themselves – so keep all of this all in mind next Tuesday.
Canadian Fool’s pranks and hoaxes
- In 2011 the Vancouver Courier reported that the next phase of the city’s bicycle infrastructure would include an underwater tunnel to connect the downtown peninsula to the rest of the city. The point being that cyclists would no longer use bridges and be dry on rainy days. The paper reported that the tunnel would cost taxpayers between $340 million and $420 million.
- In 2008 the CBC reported that Toronto’s CN Tower had a plan to reclaim its title as world’s largest free-standing structure, a title it lost to a tower in Dubai. The said plans were supposedly underway to add an extension to the top.
- Our Western Canadian airline, WestJet, has always had their own sense of humor on board and off. For April Fool’s Day they have a history of taking it over the top. In recent years we have seen the introduction of kid-free cabins , the launch of their new furry family service and a new state-of-the-art money saving feature as well as the new scheduled time for departures and arrivals.
- The year the twoonie was introduced in Canada, radio announcer /tricksters had people going through their pocket change in search of the elusive two-dollar coins which had mistakenly been minted from real gold.
- Virgin Airlines ran newspaper ads offering half-price tickets if people were willing to stand for the entire flight, called “no chair fares”.
- In keeping with their tradition of honoring special days, Google has raised the bar with their contributions including The Magic of YouTube in your Hands and Chrome Multitask Mode
- My personal favorite is an Ikea TV video that features their Ikea Hundstol Dog Highchair
- In 1957 the BBC reported that Switzerland was experiencing a bumper spaghetti harvest thanks to favorable weather and the elimination of the dread “spaghetti weevil.” It was also announced the “Many British enthusiasts have had admirable results from planting a small tin of spaghetti in tomato sauce.”
- In 1998 Burger King announced the rollout of its “Left-Handed Whopper” specifically designed so condiments would drip from the right side of the burger rather than the left.
- In 1996 an internet hoax began that runs from year to year. Watch for an announcement that every computer connected to the World Wide Web must be turned off for Internet Cleaning Day, a 24-hour period during which useless “flotsam and jetsam” are flushed from the system.
- The French call April 1st Poisson d’Avril, or “April Fish.” French children tape a picture of a fish on the back of their schoolmates, crying “Poisson d’Avril” when the prank is discovered. Other jokes include tricking the victim to ‘hold a call’ that has been placed to fish shops or the local aquarium. After holding the line for 10 minutes they are asked if they got “any bites”.
- Persian culture also has a holiday with a similar theme. During the picnic day of Sizdah Bedar, some people follow the oldest prank-tradition in the world and play jokes on each other. This has led some to believe that the origin of April Fools’ Day may be connected to the Iranian tradition of Sizdah Bedar.
- Holi, the Hindu “festival of colors” observed with the arrival of spring with “general merrymaking” and the “loosening of social norms,” play jokes and smear colors on each other.
- In Scotland, an April fool is called an April “gowk” — Scottish for cuckoo, an emblem of simpletons.
- In England, a fool is called a gob, gawby or gobby.
We all enjoy celebrating holidays for a wide variety of reasons. Some honor heroes, others commemorate religious events, but April 1st stands out as the only holiday that celebrates foolishness. What other holiday asks us to play tricks and dupe unsuspecting friends, acquaintances, family and colleagues?
If you are interested in reading about more craziness, take a look here