April Fool’s Day is an annual custom on April the 1st consisting of practical jokes and hoaxes. Jokesters often expose their actions by shouting “April Fools!” at the recipient. Mass media can be involved in these pranks, which may be revealed as such the following day.
An April fool in Denmark, regarding Copenhagen’s new subway. It looks as if one of its cars had an accident, and had broken through and surfaced on the square in front of the town hall. In reality, it was a retired car from the subway of Stockholm cut obliquely, with the front end placed onto the tiling and loose tiles scattered around it.
Note the sign “Gevalia” (a coffee company) and the accident site tape with the words “Uventede gæster?” (unexpected guests?). Gevalia’s advertising featured various vehicles popping up with unexpected guests. The day is not a public holiday in any country except Odessa, Ukraine, where the first of April is an official city holiday. The custom of setting aside a day for playing harmless pranks upon one’s neighbor has been relatively common in the world historically.
Some historians speculate that April Fools’ Day dates back to 1582, when France switched from the Julian calendar to the Gregorian calendar, as called for by the Council of Trent in 1563. In the Julian Calendar, as in the Hindu calendar, the new year began with the spring equinox around April 1.
People who were slow to get the news or failed to recognize that the start of the new year had moved to January 1 and continued to celebrate it during the last week of March through April 1 became the butt of jokes and hoaxes and were called “April fools.”
Another theory suggests that April 1st became the fool’s holiday due to Geoffrey Chaucer’s 14th-century collection, The Canterbury Tales, wherein Chaucer includes a playful reference to “32 March,” or April 1st. I personally like this one.
Burger King played a massive prank on the first day of this month back in 1998. This establishment had published a one-page spread in USA Today that asserted they’d debuted “The Left-Handed Whopper.” In the ad, they professed that their burger had the classic ingredients, but everything in it was turned around 180 degrees. The King’s fake promo remarked that they released these Whoppers to reward its patrons that weren’t right-handed or ambidextrous.
In France, pranks have always included having paper fish placed on their backs and being referred to as poisson d’avril (April fish), said to symbolize a young, “easily hooked” fish and a gullible person.
ATLANTA, April 1, 2017 – Delta Air Lines (NYSE: DAL), no longer content to offer the industry’s most thoughtful customer service, most innovative products and most reliable performance only on its home planet, is planning to expand service to Mars in the summer of 2017. This historic network expansion will be the first offered between planets by an Earth-based airline. “We continuously strive to offer our customers convenient ways to travel to their destination of choice, whether that be to Middle America to visit Mom, or to the Red Planet to search for signs of life,” a Delta spokesperson said. “It’s a bold move that comes with a few logistical challenges and an aggressive timeline, but Delta people have shown again and again they can handle anything.” Delta’s planned service is contingent on regulatory approvals from the U.S. government, United Nations Security Council, Star Fleet Command and the Galactic Empire. And also the development of a landing facility, any type of infrastructure and an atmosphere that can sustain Earthlings.
In Scotland, April Fools’ Day was traditionally called Gowk Day—gowk being another name for the cuckoo, a common symbol of the fool. Pranks continued into April 2, Tailie Day, when celebrants traditionally attach a “paper tail” (or a “kick me” sign) to their friends’ backs.
BMW is known for its April Fools’ Day adverts. In 2019, it announced “Lunar Paint”, a car paint that can charge electric vehicles by moonlight. “Lunar Paint uses revolutionary photovoltaic technology to passively recharge your battery in the hours of darkness,” the company said.
One of the most famous incidents that happened in Europe on April 1, was when the English newspaper, The Evening Star, announced in March 1746 CE that on the following day – April 1st – there would be a parade of donkeys in Islington, in England. The people rushed to see these animals and there was a huge crowd.
Online shopping platform Namshi announced in 2019 it was launching a Falcon Express delivery, a new service powered by falcons. "Travelling at a speed of 390km per hour, the birds are guaranteed to get your parcels to you within three hours of ordering," the website said. Namshi's Falcon Express delivery was launched on April Fools Day. "The fine feathered fleet are now fully fledged members of our delivery team and will take to the air to deliver smaller packages weighing less than 500g." The prank was widely praised on social media.
They continued waiting and when they got tired of waiting, they asked about when the parade would be held. They did not find anything, and when they finally realized that they had come to make an exhibition of themselves as if they were the donkeys!
The “wild goose chase” or “fools pursuit” joke dates back to the ancient myth of Pluto and Proserpina and still continues to be a classic April Fools Day joke. Today, technology plays a role in popular, large-scale jokes. Sometimes radio and television stations and websites will play jokes on their audience to see who can participate or will make jokes into contests with a prize to console those at the receiving end of a prank.
In 2019 Google introduced the “Google Screen Cleaner”, a new feature on Android smartphones that could clean physical dirt from your phone. Using what is called a “haptic micromovement generator”, the Screen Cleaner when activated magically cleans dirt and stains. Then the phone vibrates, creating a non-stick shield “with a fresh pineapple scent.”
In 1957, the BBC reported that Swiss farmers were experiencing a record spaghetti crop and showed footage of people harvesting noodles from trees. In 1985, Sports Illustrated writer George Plimpton tricked many readers when he ran a made-up article about a rookie pitcher named Sidd Finch who could throw a fastball over 168 miles per hour.
Genuine news that was not believed at first because it was announced April 1, 2004: Gmail is announced to the public by Google. Some of the announced features for the service were not considered technologically possible with the technology available in 2004.