On this day in 1700, English pranksters started the tradition of playing practical jokes on each other.
It is not sure when April Fools' Day actually began. One speculation is back in 1582 when France went from the Julian calendar to the Gregorian calendar. Some were slow to get the news that the new year now started January 1 and they still celebrated during the last week of March through April 1. They became the butt of jokes. One of the pranks was putting paper fish on their backs and being referred to as "Poisson d'avril" or April fish, which symbolized an easily caught fish and a gullible person.
The ancient Romans celebrated Hilaria at the end of March, when people dressed up in disguises. April Fools' Day is also linked with the first day of spring, when Mother Nature fooled people with the ever changing, unpredictable weather.
In Britain during the 18th century, April Fools' Day grew in popularity. In Scotland, it became a two day event. First day was the day of "hunting the gowk", where people were sent of phony errands. (gowk meant cuckoo bird, the symbol of a fool). The second day was Tailie Day, in which people played pranks the involved people tail ends, such as pinning "kick me signs" on them or pinning on fake animal tails.
Now in modern times, radio shows, newspapers, social media, and television go to great lengths to fool people. Many of my friends seem to "get engaged" on April 1st. I have seen grapes wrapped in candy paper, raspberries stuck on sticks and wrapped in Dummy sucker papers, coins glued to the sidewalk, toilet seats cover with plastic wrap, and so many more tricks.
Some of the news reports were elaborate and fun. In 1957, the BBC had a report that Swiss farmers were experiencing a record spaghetti crop and they showed footage of people harvesting noodles from trees.
In 1996, Taco Bell, announced that they had purchased the Liberty Bell and were renaming it the Taco Liberty Bell.
In 1992, passengers arriving in Los Angeles airport were greeted by a large sign on the top of a terminal that said "Welcome to Chicago".
HAVE FUN, AND TRUST NO ONE!
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