Do you believe everything you read in the newspapers or on social media, or everything you hear on TV and radio? Not a few times, fake news is woven in such publications and broadcasts that everyday seems like April 1st, the infamous April Fools’ Day. It was Mark Twain who said: “The first of April is the day we remember what we are the other 364 days of the year.”
You may have probably been pranked on April 1st, the day when we should be even more wary of the things we see and read from any source. If it sounds too good to be true, too shocking, too simplistic, or too disgusting, it probably is, and could not be true!
April Fools’ Day has spread in modern times, when people have gone through great lengths to create elaborate April Fools’ Day hoaxes.
Newspapers, radio, and TV stations, and websites have participated in the April 1 tradition of reporting outrageous fictional claims that have fooled their readers and audiences, only to be retracted the next day.
April Fool’s Day has been speculated to be traced back to Geoffrey Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales, a collection of stories written in 1392 in the Nun’s Priest Tales, narrating that characters played pranks on Syn March of “Thirty days and two”(March32) which readers understood as April 1 . A whole controversy wherein “the significance of the date March 32” stems from a single phrase in this book.
As there was not much more to go on, and it was from such an early age, its meaning remained unclear. The start of this yearly custom has been seen as a jest by some, while others have said it is nothing more than a typo.
Historians record that April Fools’ Day dates back to 1582 when France switched from the Julian calendar to the Gregorian calendar, as called for by the Council of Trent in 1563. In the Julian calendar, as in the Hindu calendar, the new year began with the spring equinox around April 1, the time or date (twice each year) at which the sun crosses the celestial equator, when day and night are of approximately equal length (about Sept. 22 and March 20).
People who were slow to get the news, or who failed to recognize that the start of the new year had moved to Jan. 1st, and continued to celebrate it during the last week of March through April 1st, became the butt of jokes and hoaxes, and were called “April fools”.
These pranks included having paper fish placed on their backs, and being referred to as poisson d’avril (April fish), said to symbolize a young, easily-caught gullible person.
Millions throughout the world continue to celebrate April Fools’ Day with just a simple joke or a practical prank that has been practiced by young and old alike, there is no age barrier.
The humorous fun is an excellent excuse to play it on anyone who can be a target for an April Fools gag, and not be held responsible for their own foolishness — whether you are the fooler or the fooled.
Hope you had a zany April Fools’ Day!
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