Isn’t it great to have a holiday that simply reminds us to laugh? How April Fools Day originated is a battle of wits in itself, and no one quite knows for sure. The most popular theory traces back to the 1500’s, with the adoption of the Gregorian calendar, when the New Year changed from being observed on April 1 to January 1. Apparently it was a popular joke to trick people into thinking April 1 was still the New Year, and those who believed it were dubbed “April Fools.”
Regardless of how it started, April Fools Day has evolved worldwide with countless customs and rules. For example, superstition says that all pranks must be performed by noon or the prankster will have bad luck. And those who don’t respond to pranks with good humor will get bad luck themselves.
But pranks aren’t just a personal thing. It was a Canadian radio station that introduced the two-dollar coin, causing banks to be flooded by phone calls. Of course, Burger King served up the left-handed Whopper. And Taco Bell announced the purchase and renaming of the Liberty Bell in a full-page New York Times ad. Perhaps the most widespread joke was in 1957 when a BBC news report announced the early Spring would cause an early “Spaghetti Harvest” in Switzerland. Complete with video of a woman harvesting noodles from trees, over 250 callers jammed the BBC switchboard with requests for their own Spaghetti Tree.
And some pranks never get old. For the past 20 years, a teacher in Boston has been coming in early to write the April 1 assignment upside-down on the blackboard. When her curious students arrive, she tells them she did it by standing on the ceiling. You can relay that story when you send the April Fools’ ecard above to make someone smile today. Or start a traditional prank of your own. Just make sure you do it by noon!