April first, sometimes referred to as All Fool’s Day, is an opportunity to play pranks on friends, family and co-workers without getting into trouble. This unusual holiday is celebrated worldwide.
According to modern tradition, it began in the 1500s when the Gregorian calendar went into effect. At that time, the New Year moved from April 1 to Jan. 1. Many people were unaware of the change and continued to celebrate the New Year on April 1. They became the first April fools.
But according to Snopes.com that is only one theory. Other theories suggest that it might have something to do with the vernal equinox and the arrival of spring. One theory even suggests that Aprils Fool’s day began as a way to commemorate the fruitless mission of the raven who was sent from the ark by Noah to find dry land.
No matter how it began, it seems to be a popular holiday with Weber State University students.
WSU student April Edwards was born on April 1.
“My parent’s cruel joke was to name me April,” Edwards said. “If I had been born any other day of the year, my name would have been Elizabeth.”
Edwards said she got sick of people playing pranks on her just because it was her birthday, so one year she and some friends got together and decorated the cars of six friends with Just Married signs.
“We didn’t damage their cars,” Edwards said, “but we did a really good job.”
Edwards said that luckily they never found out who did it because none of the victims were happy about the prank.
Student Stephanie Floch is from Frankfurt, Germany. She said that she used to celebrate it there as well.
“April Fool’s Day is celebrated in Germany as well,” Floch said. “It is the idea that you play tricks on people, the same as here–little things, nothing of real consequence. It is a day when we are not serious about anything.”
Not all students like the idea of April Fool’s Day.
“I am not a big fan of practical jokes, so I guess in a way I do not like what April Fool’s Day stands for,” said student Sadie Wray. “Most practical jokes just seem to be mean.”
The Museum of Hoaxes has a list of the top 100 April Fool’s Day hoaxes of all time.
“One memorable hoax happened in 1998 when Burger King published a full page advertisement in the April 1st edition of USA Today announcing the introduction of a new item to their menu: a ‘Left-Handed Whopper’ specially designed for the 32 million left-handed Americans. According to the advertisement, the new whopper included the same ingredients as the original Whopper (lettuce, tomato, hamburger patty, etc.), but all the condiments were rotated 180 degrees for the benefit of their left-handed customers. The following day Burger King issued a follow-up release revealing that although the Left-Handed Whopper was a hoax, thousands of customers had gone into restaurants to request the new sandwich. Simultaneously, according to the press release, ‘many others requested their own right-handed version.’”
That kind of hoax might be hard to pull off, but it is never too soon to start planning for next year.