April Fool's Day

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April Fool's Day, also written April Fools' Day, occurs every April 1st and is the occasion for practical jokes, especially "fooling" someone into believing something incredible—only then to mock one's victim with a hearty "April fool!" For example, a parent might tell a teenager, "I bought you a new car! It's in the garage!" When the teen runs to the garage, he sees a toy car on the floor, and the parent shouts, "April fool!"

There have been some rather funny April Fool's Day jokes perpetrated via mass media. One website[1] awarded first prize to The Swiss Spaghetti Harvest of 1957:

The respected BBC news show Panorama announced that thanks to a very mild winter and the virtual elimination of the dreaded spaghetti weevil, Swiss farmers were enjoying a bumper spaghetti crop. It accompanied this announcement with footage of Swiss peasants pulling strands of spaghetti down from trees. Huge numbers of viewers were taken in. Many called the BBC wanting to know how they could grow their own spaghetti tree. To this the BBC diplomatically replied, "place a sprig of spaghetti in a tin of tomato sauce and hope for the best."

In Commonwealth tradition, one is only allowed to play an April Fool's joke until 12 noon on the 1st. Otherwise, one might be hailed with the following bit of doggerel:

"Twelve o'clock is come and gone, and you're a fool to make me one!"

A typical response is:

"When April comes again, you'll be the biggest fool then!"

For inscrutable reasons of their own, the French call the same occasion poisson d'avril, or "fish of April" with the same types of jokes being played. In contrast, the Portuguese opt for literalness with dia de mentiras, "day of lies".

Notes

  1. "The Top 100 April Fool's Day Hoaxes of All Time," The Museum of Hoaxes, <http://www.museumofhoaxes.com/hoax/aprilfool/>