April Fool’s Day, as it is known, is a day when people play practical jokes on each other and spread hoaxes. Sometimes, jokes happen between people but sometimes, newspapers, magazines and other media publish fake stories, with an apology rectifying things the next day.
Yet, the origins of this day are quite obscure. One of the most prominent theories is that in 1582, France adopted the Gregorian calendar which moved the first day of the year from April 1st to January 1st. But some people continued to consider the 1st of April as the first day of the year. Little by little, these people were mocked and pranked. And so the tradition started.
Other people argue that it is derived from early pagan renewal festivals to mark the end of Winter and the beginning of Spring.
What is sure is that there have been references to a day of merry making in other cultures like India, or other times like Roman Empire.
The style of April Fools’ pranks has changed over the years. Sending the unsuspecting on pointless errands was an especially prized practical joke in those earlier post-Julian days.
Although the style of April Fool’s pranks has changed over the years, sending an unsuspecting person on a pointless errand is still a strong favourite.
Young mechanics are regularly sent to ask a more senior colleague for a tube of elbow grease, young doctors for a bucket of dehydrated water, and young carpenters for a bag of rubber nails.
So next time someone asks you to get a left-handed screwdriver, a tin of striped paint or a glass hammer, check the date. You might have been pranked!