01
Apr

I Pity the Fool – It’s April Fools’ Day!

We’re not about to add to the list of pranksters pulling your leg today, instead we’re going to pull together some of the best April Fools pranks for your enjoyment – because of course, it’s always better to laugh at others! Before we get started, we’re going to explain how such a mischievous day came to exist.

Origins

Like many ancient festivals, the origins of April Fools’ are as murky as a duck pond during an April shower! So, we’ve chosen our favourite to share with you:

Springtime mischief can trace back its origins a long way in Britain; Geoffrey Chaucer’s 1392 collection of stories known as The Canterbury Tales contains the first written record of a link between springtime and foolishness.

However, the explanation for the origin of April Fools’ Day specifically we like the most, comes from across the Channel in France. In 1582, the French adopted the Gregorian calendar for the first time: this shifted New Year’s Day from 1st April to 1st January. Many continued to be unaware of this change (because looking up the calendar on your phone isn’t an option, if you’re an illiterate peasant living in the 16th century!) Those ignorant of the calendar change were mocked by their fellow countrymen, who played pranks on them and tricked them into believing fabricated tales on the 1st April.

As April Fools’ Day gives people the perfect chance to trick their friends and family – the tradition to concentrate this activity on 1st April quickly spread out across Europe, then to the wider world.

Fools Paradise – April Fools from Around the World

Spaghetti Harvest - Britain

One of our favourite April Fools’ Day jokes dates back to 1957 and comes from the BBC. The respected news show, Panorama, aired video footage of Swiss farmers who had managed to eliminate the dreaded spaghetti weevil – leading to a bumper harvest in the spaghetti fields. Whilst it’s difficult to imagine now, thanks to the internet, many viewers fell hook line and sinker for the footage. Many even phoned the BBC asking how they could grow their own spaghetti at home. Not ones to abandon a joke, the BBC staff helpfully instructed viewers to “place a sprig of spaghetti in a tomato sauce and hope for the best”.

Swiss Mountain Cleaners – Switzerland

Think of a pristine Alpine view – with clear blue skies and rolling pine forests. You certainly don’t think of a landscape covered in bird poo! In 2009 spurred on to keep the Swiss countryside looking clean and idyllic, a group of Felsenputzers (mountain cleaners) set out on the monumental task of scrubbing every inch of the Swiss Alps clean from bird poo. Or, so it seemed – the prank was actually carried out by the Swiss Tourism Board. You can see the whole video here. 

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