April Fools' Day or April Fool's Day (sometimes called All Fools' Day) is an annual celebration on April 1, commemorated by practical jokes and hoaxes. The player(s) of the joke(s) or hoax(es) often exposes their action by shouting "April fool(s)" at the recipient(s). The recipient of these actions are called April fools. Mass media can be involved in these pranks that the following day are reported as such. Although popular since the 19th century, the day is not a public holiday in any country.
Aside from April Fools' Day, the custom of setting aside a day for the playing of harmless pranks upon one's neighbour has historically been relatively common in the world.
An April Fools' Day prank marking the construction of the Copenhagen Metro in 2001
|Also called||All Fools' Day|
|Significance||Practical jokes, pranks|
|Next time||1 April 2020|
A disputed association between April 1 and foolishness is in Geoffrey Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales (1392). In the "Nun's Priest's Tale", a vain cock Chauntecleer is tricked by a fox on Syn March bigan thritty dayes and two. Readers apparently understood this line to mean "32 March", i.e. April 1. However, it is not clear that Chaucer was referencing April 1. Modern scholars believe that there is a copying error in the extant manuscripts and that Chaucer actually wrote, Syn March was gon. If so, the passage would have originally meant 32 days after March, i.e. 2 May, the anniversary of the engagement of King Richard II of England to Anne of Bohemia, which took place in 1381.
In 1508, French poet Eloy d'Amerval referred to a poisson d’avril (April fool, literally "Fish of April"), possibly the first reference to the celebration in France. Some writers suggest that April Fools' originated because in the Middle Ages, New Year's Day was celebrated on March 25 in most European towns, through a holiday that in some areas of France, specifically, ended on April 1, and those who celebrated New Year's Eve on January 1 made fun of those who celebrated on other dates by the invention of April Fools' Day. The use of January 1 as New Year's Day became common in France only by the mid-16th century, and the date was not adopted officially until 1564, thanks to the Edict of Roussillon.
In 1539, Flemish poet Eduard de Dene wrote of a nobleman who sent his servants on foolish errands on April 1.
In the Netherlands, the origin of April Fools' Day is often attributed to the Dutch victory at Brielle in 1572, where the Spanish Duke Álvarez de Toledo was defeated. "Op 1 april verloor Alva zijn bril" is a Dutch proverb, which can be translated to: "On the first of April, Alva lost his glasses." In this case, the glasses ("bril" in Dutch) serve as a metaphor for Brielle. This theory, however, provides no explanation for the international celebration of April Fools' Day.
In 1686, John Aubrey referred to the celebration as "Fooles holy day", the first British reference. On April 1, 1698, several people were tricked into going to the Tower of London to "see the Lions washed".
Although no Biblical scholar or historian are known to have mentioned a relationship, some have expressed the belief that the origins of April Fool's Day may go back to the Genesis flood narrative. In a 1908 edition of the Harper's Weekly cartoonist Bertha R. McDonald wrote:
Authorities gravely back with it to the time of Noah and the ark. The London Public Advertiser of March 13, 1769, printed: "The mistake of Noah sending the dove out of the ark before the water had abated, on the first day of April, and to perpetuate the memory of this deliverance it was thought proper, whoever forgot so remarkable a circumstance, to punish them by sending them upon some sleeveless errand similar to that ineffectual message upon which the bird was sent by the patriarch".
In the UK, an April Fool prank is revealed by shouting "April fool!" at the recipient, who becomes the "April fool". A study in the 1950s, by folklorists Iona and Peter Opie, found that in the UK, and in countries whose traditions derived from the UK, the joking ceased at midday. This continues to be the current practice with the holiday ceasing at noon, after which time it is no longer acceptable to play pranks. Ergo, a person playing a prank after midday is considered the "April fool" themselves.
In Scotland, April Fools' Day was traditionally called 'Huntigowk Day', although this name has fallen into disuse. The name is a corruption of 'Hunt the Gowk', "gowk" being Scots for a cuckoo or a foolish person; alternative terms in Gaelic would be Là na Gocaireachd, 'gowking day', or Là Ruith na Cuthaige, 'the day of running the cuckoo'. The traditional prank is to ask someone to deliver a sealed message that supposedly requests help of some sort. In fact, the message reads "Dinna laugh, dinna smile. Hunt the gowk another mile." The recipient, upon reading it, will explain he can only help if he first contacts another person, and sends the victim to this next person with an identical message, with the same result.
In England a "fool" is known by different names around the country, including a "noodle", "gob", "gobby" or "noddy".
In Ireland, it was traditional to entrust the victim with an "important letter" to be given to a named person. That person would then ask the victim to take it to someone else, and so on. The letter when finally opened contained the words "send the fool further".
In Poland, prima aprilis ("1 April" in Latin) as a day of pranks is a centuries-long tradition. It is a day when many pranks are played; hoaxes – sometimes very sophisticated – are prepared by people, media (which often cooperate to make the "information" more credible) and even public institutions. Serious activities are usually avoided, and generally every word said on April 1 can be untrue. The conviction for this is so strong that the Polish anti-Turkish alliance with Leopold I signed on April 1, 1683, was backdated to March 31. However, for some in Poland prima aprilis ends at noon of April 1, and prima aprilis jokes after that hour are considered inappropriate and not classy.
Danes, Finns, Icelanders, Norwegians and Swedes celebrate April Fools' Day (aprilsnar in Danish; aprillipäivä in Finnish). Most news media outlets will publish exactly one false story on April 1; for newspapers this will typically be a first-page article but not the top headline.
In Italy, France, Belgium and French-speaking areas of Switzerland and Canada, April 1 tradition is often known as "April fish" (poissons d'avril in French, april vis in Dutch or pesce d'aprile in Italian). This includes attempting to attach a paper fish to the victim's back without being noticed. Such fish feature is prominently present on many late 19th- to early 20th-century French April Fools' Day postcards. Many newspapers also spread a false story on April Fish Day, and a subtle reference to a fish is sometimes given as a clue to the fact that it is an April fools' prank.
In Lebanon, an April Fool prank is revealed by saying "كذبة أول نيسان " (which means "April First Lie") at the recipient.
In many Spanish-speaking countries (and the Philippines), "Dia de los Santos Inocentes" (Holy Innocents Day) is a festivity which is very similar to the April Fools' Day, but it is celebrated in late December (27, 28 or 29 depending on the location, or January 10th for East Syrians).
As an English-speaking country, Israel has adopted the custom of pranking on April Fools Day.
As well as people playing pranks on one another on April Fools' Day, elaborate pranks have appeared on radio and TV stations, newspapers, websites, and have been performed by large corporations. In one famous prank from 1957, the BBC broadcast a film in their Panorama current affairs series purporting to show Swiss farmers picking freshly-grown spaghetti, in what they called the Swiss Spaghetti Harvest. The BBC were later flooded with requests to purchase a spaghetti plant, forcing them to declare the film a hoax on the news the next day.
With the advent of the Internet and readily available global news services, April Fools' pranks can catch and embarrass a wider audience than ever before.
December 28, the equivalent day in Spain, Hispanic America and the Philippines, is also the Christian day of celebration of the "Day of the Holy Innocents". The Christian celebration is a holiday in its own right, a religious one, but the tradition of pranks is not, though the latter is observed yearly. After a prank is played, the cry is made, in some regions of Hispanic America: Inocente palomita que te dejaste engañar ("You innocent little dove that let yourself be fooled"), not to be confused with the second translation of palomita, which is popcorn.
In Mexico, the phrase is ¡Inocente para siempre! which means "Innocent forever!". In Argentina, the prankster says ¡Que la inocencia te valga!, which roughly translates as a piece of advice on not to be as gullible as the victim of the prank. In Spain, it is common to say just ¡Inocente! (which in Spanish can mean "Innocent!", but also "Gullible!").
In Colombia, the term used is "Pásala por Inocentes", which roughly means: "Let it go; today it's Innocent's Day."
In Belgium, this day is also known as the "Day of the innocent children" or "Day of the stupid children". It used to be a day where parents, grandparents, and teachers would fool the children in some way. But the celebration of this day has died out in favor of April Fools' Day.
Nevertheless, on the Spanish island of Menorca, Dia d'enganyar ("Fooling day") is celebrated on April 1 because Menorca was a British possession during part of the 18th century. In Brazil, the "Dia da mentira" ("Day of the lie") is also celebrated on April 1.
The practice of April Fool pranks and hoaxes is controversial. The mixed opinions of critics are epitomized in the reception to the 1957 BBC "Spaghetti-tree hoax", in reference to which, newspapers were split over whether it was "a great joke or a terrible hoax on the public".
The positive view is that April Fools' can be good for one's health because it encourages "jokes, hoaxes...pranks, [and] belly laughs", and brings all the benefits of laughter including stress relief and reducing strain on the heart. There are many "best of" April Fools' Day lists that are compiled in order to showcase the best examples of how the day is celebrated. Various April Fools' campaigns have been praised for their innovation, creativity, writing, and general effort.
The negative view describes April Fools' hoaxes as "creepy and manipulative", "rude" and "a little bit nasty", as well as based on schadenfreude and deceit. When genuine news or a genuine important order or warning is issued on April Fools' Day, there is risk that it will be misinterpreted as a joke and ignored – for example, when Google, known to play elaborate April Fools' Day hoaxes, announced the launch of Gmail with 1-gigabyte inboxes in 2004, an era when competing webmail services offered 4-megabytes or less, many dismissed it as a joke outright. On the other hand, sometimes stories intended as jokes are taken seriously. Either way, there can be adverse effects, such as confusion, misinformation, waste of resources (especially when the hoax concerns people in danger) and even legal or commercial consequences.
People obeying hoax messages to telephone "Mr.C.Lion" and "Mr.L.E.Fant" and suchlike at a telephone number that turns out to be a zoo, sometimes cause a serious overload to zoos' telephone switchboards.
Other examples of genuine news on April 1 mistaken as a hoax include:
Books, films, telemovies and television episodes have used April Fool's Day as their title or inspiration. Examples include Bryce Courtenay's novel April Fool's Day (1993), whose title refers to the day Courtenay's son died. The 1990s sitcom Roseanne featured an episode titled "April Fools' Day". This turned out to be intentionally misleading, as the episode was about Tax Day in the United States on April 15 – the last day to submit the previous year's tax information.
.frl is the Internet top-level domain for Friesland. .frl domain names are issued by FRLregistry B.V., which is responsible for the top-level domain '.frl'. On September 1, 2014 the delegation took place and .frl was established. On September 2 is the first .frl domain nic.frl went online.1946 Aleutian Islands earthquake
The 1946 Aleutian Islands earthquake occurred near the Aleutian Islands, Alaska on April 1. The shock had a moment magnitude of 8.6 and a maximum Mercalli intensity of VI (Strong). It resulted in 165–173 casualties and over $26 million in damage. The seafloor along the fault was elevated, triggering a Pacific-wide tsunami with multiple destructive waves at heights ranging from 45–130 ft. The tsunami obliterated the Scotch Cap Lighthouse on Unimak Island, Alaska among others, and killed all five lighthouse keepers. Despite the destruction to the Aleutian Island Unimak, the tsunami had almost an imperceptible effect on the Alaskan mainland.Waves reportedly traveled across the ocean at 500 miles an hour and measured 55 feet high, crest to trough, according to the USGS. The wave reached Kauai, Hawaii 4.5 hours after the quake, and Hilo, Hawaii 4.9 hours later. In Hilo, the death toll was high: 173 were killed, 163 injured, 488 buildings were demolished and 936 more were damaged. Witnesses told of waves inundating streets, homes, and storefronts. Many victims were swept out to sea by receding water. The tsunami caused much damage in Maui as well. Waves there demolished 77 homes and many other buildings. The residents of these islands were caught off-guard by the onset of the tsunami due to the inability to transmit warnings from the destroyed posts at Scotch Cap, and the tsunami is known as the April Fools Day Tsunami in Hawaii because it happened on April 1st and many thought it to be an April Fool's Day prank. The effects of the tsunami also reached the West Coast of the United States.The tsunami was unusually powerful for the size of the earthquake. The event was classified as a tsunami earthquake due to the discrepancy between the size of the tsunami and the relatively low surface wave magnitude. The large-scale destruction prompted the creation of the Seismic Sea Wave Warning System, which became the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center in 1949.1997 April Fool's Day blizzard
The 1997 April Fool's Day blizzard was a major winter storm in the Northeastern United States on March 31 and April 1, 1997. The storm dumped rain, sleet, and snow from Maryland to Maine leaving hundreds of thousands without power and as much as three feet of snow on the ground.
Due to the date many people took warnings of the storm less than seriously. Plows had already begun to be put away for the summer and hardware stores had to sell shovels again even though they already had out patio furniture. One commuter called it "Mother Nature's April Fools' Joke."April Fools' Day Request for Comments
A Request for Comments (RFC), in the context of Internet governance, is a type of publication from the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) and the Internet Society (ISOC), usually describing methods, behaviors, research, or innovations applicable to the working of the Internet and Internet-connected systems.
Almost every April Fools' Day (1 April) since 1989, the Internet RFC Editor has published one or more humorous Request for Comments (RFC) documents, following in the path blazed by the June 1973 RFC 527 called ARPAWOCKY, a parody of Lewis Carroll's nonsense poem "Jabberwocky". The following list also includes humorous RFCs published on other dates.Comic strip switcheroo
The comic strip switcheroo (also known as the Great Comics Switcheroonie or the Great April Fools' Day Comics Switcheroonie) was a massive practical joke in which several comic strip writers and artists (cartoonists), without the foreknowledge of their editors, traded strips for a day on April Fools' Day 1997. The Switcheroo was masterminded by comic strip creators Rick Kirkman and Jerry Scott, creators of the Baby Blues daily newspaper comic strip. It is considered one of the all-time greatest switcheroos.Eat, Pray, Queef
"Eat, Pray, Queef" is the fourth episode of the thirteenth season of the American animated television series South Park. The 185th overall episode of the series, it originally aired on Comedy Central in the United States on April 1, 2009. In the episode, the men and boys of South Park become infuriated when the fart-joke oriented Terrance and Phillip show is replaced with the Queef Sisters, a show devoted to queef jokes. The women and girls of South Park accuse them of holding a sexist double standard when it comes to women queefing and men farting.
The episode was written and directed by series co-founder Trey Parker, and was rated TV-MA L in the United States. Parker and Matt Stone originally considered doing a full-length Queef Sisters episode in the style of the second season premiere "Terrance and Phillip in Not Without My Anus", but they decided against it based on the negative fan reaction to that episode.
The episode received generally positive reviews and, according to Nielsen Media Research, was seen by more than three million households in its original airing, making it the most-watched Comedy Central production of the week. The title is a reference to the Elizabeth Gilbert book Eat, Pray, Love; the episode also included references to Martha Stewart and the film The Road Warrior. The episode ends with the South Park men recording "Queef Free", a charity song in the style of "We Are The World" mixed with lyrics from "I Am Woman". "Eat, Pray, Queef" was released on DVD and Blu-ray along with the rest of the thirteenth season on March 16, 2010.Evil bit
The evil bit is a fictional IPv4 packet header field proposed in RFC 3514, a humorous April Fools' Day RFC from 2003 authored by Steve Bellovin. The RFC recommended that the last remaining unused bit, the "Reserved Bit," in the IPv4 packet header be used to indicate whether a packet had been sent with malicious intent, thus making computer security engineering an easy problem – simply ignore any messages with the evil bit set and trust the rest.Film School Rejects
Film School Rejects is an American blog devoted to movie reviews, interviews, film industry news, and feature commentary. It was founded by Neil Miller in February 2006.The site was nominated for Best News Blog by Total Film magazine and named one of the 50 best blogs for filmmakers by MovieMaker magazine. Its weekly podcast, Reject Radio, was voted as the fourth best podcast for movie fans by Movies.com.Film School Rejects and its contributors have been featured and quoted in regional and national media outlets, including The New York Times, CNN, the Los Angeles Times, Mashable, and American Public Media. The site's April Fools' Day pranks have been covered on MTV, Fandango, and BuzzFeed.Flying penguin hoax
Miracles of Evolution is a BBC film trailer featuring flying penguins made in 2008 as an April Fools' Day hoax. The film was advertised as compelling evidence for Charles Darwin's theory of evolution. It was largely set on King George Island, which is 75 miles from mainland Antarctica.
The Daily Telegraph wrote that the film was "an instant classic. It is accomplished work of this kind that guarantees the BBC its unique status."The BBC website still claims that it may attempt to film the flying penguins again because the original film did not explain how such small birds, that are not used to flying, could survive long migrations over vast, stormy oceans. Miracles of Evolution was filmed with animated penguins for the occasion of April Fools' Day, and to promote the BBC iPlayer.MSN included "The BBC's flying penguins" as one of their twelve "hoaxes of the decade."Hyper Text Coffee Pot Control Protocol
The Hyper Text Coffee Pot Control Protocol (HTCPCP) is a facetious communication protocol for controlling, monitoring, and diagnosing coffee pots. It is specified in RFC 2324, published on 1 April 1998 as an April Fools' Day RFC, as part of an April Fools prank. An extension, HTCPCP-TEA, was published as RFC 7168 on 1 April 2014 to support brewing teas, which is also an April Fools' Day RFC.IP over Avian Carriers
In computer networking, IP over Avian Carriers (IPoAC) is a proposal to carry Internet Protocol (IP) traffic by birds such as homing pigeons. IP over Avian Carriers was initially described in RFC 1149, a Request for Comments (RFC) issued by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), written by D. Waitzman, and released on April 1, 1990. It is one of several April Fools' Day Request for Comments.
Waitzman described an improvement of his protocol in RFC 2549, IP over Avian Carriers with Quality of Service (1 April 1999). Later, in RFC 6214—released on 1 April 2011, and 13 years after the introduction of IPv6—Carpenter and Hinden published Adaptation of RFC 1149 for IPv6.IPoAC has been successfully implemented, but for only nine packets of data, with a packet loss ratio of 55% (due to operator error), and a response time ranging from 3000 seconds (≈54 minutes) to over 6000 seconds (≈1.77 hours). Thus, this technology suffers from poor latency. Nevertheless, for large transfers, avian carriers are capable of high average throughput when carrying flash memory devices, effectively implementing a sneakernet. During the last 20 years, the information density of storage media and thus the bandwidth of an avian carrier has increased 3 times as fast as the bandwidth of the Internet. IPoAC may achieve bandwidth peaks of orders of magnitude more than the Internet when used with multiple avian carriers in rural areas. For example: If 16 homing pigeons are given eight 512 GB SD cards each, and take an hour to reach their destination, the throughput of the transfer would be 145.6 Gbit/s, excluding transfer to and from the SD cards.List of April Fools' Day jokes
By tradition, in some countries, April 1 or April Fools' Day is marked by practical jokes. Notable practical jokes have appeared on radio and TV stations, newspapers, web sites, and have even been done in large crowds.List of Google April Fools' Day jokes
Google frequently inserts jokes and hoaxes into its products on April Fools' Day, which takes place on April 1.Place (Reddit)
Place was a collaborative project and social experiment hosted on the social networking site Reddit that began on April Fools' Day 2017. The experiment involved an online canvas of one million (1000x1000) pixel squares, located at a subreddit called /r/place, which registered users could edit by changing the color of a single pixel from a 16-colour palette. After each pixel was placed, a timer prevented the user from placing any pixels for a period of time varying from 5 to 20 minutes.The experiment was ended by Reddit administrators around 72 hours after its creation, on 3 April 2017. Over 1 million unique users edited the canvas, placing a total of approximately 16 million tiles, and, at the time the experiment was ended, had over 90,000 users viewing or editing it. The Place subreddit was archived on 19 April 2017.San Serriffe
San Serriffe is a fictional island nation created for April Fools' Day, 1977, by Britain's Guardian newspaper. It was featured in a seven-page hoax supplement, published in the style of contemporary reviews of foreign countries, commemorating the tenth anniversary of the island's independence, complete with themed advertisements from major companies. The supplement provided an elaborate description of the nation as a tourist destination and developing economy, but most of its place names and characters were puns and plays on words relating to printing (such as "sans-serif" and names of common fonts). The original idea was to place the island in the Atlantic Ocean near Tenerife, but because of the ground collision of two Boeing 747s there a few days before publication it was moved to the Indian Ocean, near the Seychelles Islands.
San Serriffe was one of the most famous and successful hoaxes of recent decades; it has become part of the common cultural heritage of literary humour, and a secondary body of literature has been derived from it. The nation was reused for similar hoaxes in 1978, 1980 and 1999. In April 2009 the geography, history and culture of San Serriffe featured heavily in the paper's cryptic crossword.Sidd Finch
Sidd Finch is a fictional baseball player, the subject of the notorious April Fools' Day hoax article "The Curious Case of Sidd Finch" written by George Plimpton and first published in the April 1, 1985 issue of Sports Illustrated. According to Plimpton, Finch was raised in an English orphanage, learned yoga in Tibet, and could throw a fastball as fast as 168 miles per hour (270 km/h).Spaghetti-tree hoax
The spaghetti-tree hoax was a three-minute hoax report broadcast on April Fools' Day 1957 by the BBC current-affairs programme Panorama, purportedly showing a family in southern Switzerland harvesting spaghetti from the family "spaghetti tree". At the time spaghetti was relatively little known in the UK, so many Britons were unaware that it is made from wheat flour and water; a number of viewers afterwards contacted the BBC for advice on growing their own spaghetti trees. Decades later CNN called this broadcast "the biggest hoax that any reputable news establishment ever pulled".Terrance and Phillip in Not Without My Anus
"Terrance and Phillip in Not Without My Anus" is the second season premiere of the American animated television series South Park. The 14th episode of the series overall, it originally aired on Comedy Central in the United States on April 1, 1998. The episode follows the two title characters, a duo of Canadians who attempt to save their country from the dictator Saddam Hussein while performing repetitive toilet humour. Unbeknown to them, the plan was partially set up by their rival, Scott, a critic who is often displeased by their random jokes of flatulence. The script was written by series co-creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone, along with writer Trisha Nixon.
The episode was an April Fools' Day prank on South Park fans who were waiting to learn the identity of Cartman's father after the cliffhanger ending of the first season finale "Cartman's Mom Is a Dirty Slut". The prank angered viewers resulting in 2,000 e-mail complaints to Comedy Central within a week of the original broadcast. The broadcast date of the subsequent episode, "Cartman's Mom Is Still a Dirty Slut", was moved up in response to the complaints. "Terrance and Phillip in Not Without My Anus" received generally mixed reviews, with some commentators criticizing Parker and Stone for "duping" their viewers, and others praising them for taking the risk. The creators cited this episode as their favorite and response to it has become warmer since.
|Varies (year round)|
Bold indicates major holidays commonly celebrated in Algeria, which often represent the major celebrations of the month.
See also: Lists of holidays.
American Heart Month
Black History Month
Irish-American Heritage Month
National Colon Cancer Awareness Month
Women's History Month
Confederate History Month
Asian Pacific American Heritage Month
Jewish American Heritage Month
Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and
Transgender Pride Month
Prostate Cancer Awareness Month
Hispanic Heritage Month
Breast Cancer Awareness Month
Disability Employment Awareness Month
Filipino American History Month
LGBT History Month
Native American Indian Heritage Month
|Varies (year round)|
(federal) = federal holidays, (state) = state holidays, (religious) = religious holidays, (week) = weeklong holidays, (month) = monthlong holidays, (36) = Title 36 Observances and Ceremonies