PEARTREE LIFE: Experiencing Languages

April Fool's Day, a day full of hoaxes, pranks and jokes

April Fool’s Day is almost here! Get ready to joke around on the annual day of hoaxes, pranks and tricks this Saturday the 1st of April.

It is unknown where and when the tradition started, but one theory states that it began in France in 1582 when the Gregorian calendar was adopted. This meant that New Year’s Day celebrations were moved from March 25 to January 1 and those who continued to celebrate the old New Year at the beginning of April were considered “fools”.

“The beginning of spring marks a time of lighthearted pranking around the world.” 

 The first recorded association between April 1 and “foolishness” is from 1392. Although the day has been increasingly popular since the 19th century, it is still not a public holiday in any country. If you hear anyone shout “April fool!” in the UK on Saturday, you might be witnessing a joke being revealed. After a prank has succeeded, this act officially makes the victim become an “April fool”.
In the 1950s it was found that the joking usually ends at midday in the UK. Pulling a joke after midday makes you the “April fool” instead!

“In England a "fool" is known by different names around the country, including a ‘noodle’, ‘gob’, ‘gobby’ or ‘noddy’.” 

The traditions are different in every country. In the Nordic countries, it is especially probable for the newspapers to report fake stories. In Italy, France, Belgium, Canada, The Netherlands and French-speaking areas of Switzerland, April Fool’s Day is often known as “April fish” (poissons d'avril in French, aprilvis in Dutch or pesce d'aprile in Italian). A typical practical joke in these countries is to attempt to attach a paper fish to the victim’s back without them noticing. Sometimes, false stories with subtle references to fish even appear.

As stated before, it is common for some newspapers and magazines to report fake stories on April Fool’s Day. These are usually explained the following day as the hoax is revealed. One example is the launching of sailing courses for dogs by Plas Menai, the National Outdoor Centre for Wales, in 2015. It was reported that the courses would involve “kitting the dogs out in life jackets, single-pawed sailing and five-star kennel accommodation.”

Another funny story was an article published by WalesOnline in the same year, claiming that a new camera had been developed for the Rugby World Cup. The new camera would allow fans to watch the game from the ball!

But the 1st of April is not only a day for jokes. Real and serious events have also taken place on this date in history. In 1976, Apple Inc. was formed by Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak and Ronald Wayne in Jobs’ garage in California, USA.

In 1997, our very own intern Sanna Warnemyr was born in Sk√•ne University Hospital, Lund, Sweden. Happy Birthday Sanna! 

And in 2001, Same-sex marriage became legal in the Netherlands! The Netherlands was the first contemporary country to allow it, making April 1 a very important day.

We would love to know how April Fool’s Day is celebrated in your country. Maybe you have a funny story to share? Let us know on Facebook!

By Sanna and Coralie  


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About Peartree Languages

Peartree Languages is a language school located in Cardiff.