Irisdian Mayares, Reporter
April 1st marks the time for practical jokes that could either end in good laughs or trauma. Hoaxes and pranks are common as well.
The tradition of April Fools can be traced back to the 1392 book by Geoffrey Chaucer,“The Canterbury Tales”. In the book, Chaucer mentioned a Chauntecleer getting tricked by a fox on what people assumed was April 1st. That part of the text is ambiguous to most nowadays however, with modern scholars believing he meant 32 days after March (i.e. May 2) instead of 32 days of March (i.e. April 1st) when writing “Syn March bigan thritty dayes and two”.
The day has similarities with other, older, festivities like the Roman festival of Hilaria, the Holi festival of India, and the Medieval Feast of Fools. Both the Hilaria festival and the Holi Festival are celebrated during the vernal equinox, which usually falls near April, generally in March.
It’s been speculated that April Fools was born from France’s switch to the Gregorian Calendar as the switch changed the beginning of the new year to January 1st but some, the “April Fish”, continued to celebrate the new year from the first week of March to the 1st of April because they were unaware of the news.
Throughout history there have been many infamous April Fools pranks that have remained iconic. An April Fool prank is documented as far back as 1698 when people were tricked into believing the Tower of London had lions and traveled to see the lions being washed.
People have also been tricked into believing covering their TV’s with ripped stockings would make them be in color instead of black and white. The prank of the Lebanon Circle Magick Co. involved creating a mummified “fairy” to fool others of their existence. To this day the picture of the “fairy” is found online and used as evidence for “fairies/supernatural creatures are real” arguments.
Similarly, BBC broadcasted in 1957, Swiss farmers harvesting the spaghetti growing from their trees in a Swiss Spaghetti Harvest. Which lead many to call-in asking how to grow their own spaghetti.
Sometimes the pranks have ended badly, however, like the Great Blue hill eruption prank that the Boston Television station WNAC-TV broadcasted. They showed a fake news bulletin about the Great Blue Hill in Milton, Massachusetts was erupting which resulted in some people panicking and fleeing their homes because they weren’t around to see the disclaimer at the end of the bulletin.
Brenda Montes, Junior, said there should be limits to the pranks in April Fools “because obviously we don't want pranks that will hurt someone, burn something down, embarrass someone publicly.”
More recently, in 1998, McDonald’s also participated in making fools out of the public by advertising a left-handed Whopper, opposed to their regular, ‘right-handed’ Whopper, where the condiments were shifted 180 degrees.
April Fools pranks can be just as public and impacting as they can be private and insignificant. Some common pranks would be the simpler, filling an oreo with toothpaste or getting fake ice with bugs in it in someone’s drink.
People might use whoopie cushions or even tape teacher’s school supplies, like Brenda Montes, Junior, had seen in her middle school.
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