April Fool’s Day falls on April 1st every year and people celebrate this day by playing pranks and practical jokes on each other.
It is often a day when mass media join in on these pranks, which are revealed the following day.
It is not a bank holiday anywhere except Odessa, Ukraine, where April 1 is an official holiday in that city.
Here is everything you need to know about April Fool’s Day.
What day is April Fool’s 2022?
This year, the day falls on a Friday, April 1.
Last year in 2021, April Fool’s was on a Thursday, and in 2020, it was on a Wednesday.
Why is April Fool’s Day celebrated?
Whilst its exact origins remain unknown, some historians believe that the day was first introduced in 1582, when France changed the Julian calendar to the Gregorian calendar, which was requested by the Council of Trent in 1563.
Just like with the Hindu calendar, the Julian calendar new year started with the spring equinox around April 1.
Members of the public took a while to catch on with the new calendar and that the beginning of the new year had moved to January 1, so they continued to celebrate it during the last week of March through to April 1. Consequently, they became the subject of jokes and hoaxes and were called ‘April fools’.
Over centuries, the tradition lived on and people from all walks of life have contributed to the day with pranks, jokes and hoaxes in an attempt to trick people.
What are some of the most famous April Fool’s pranks in the UK?
1 - Spaghetti trees: Panorama hoax
The BBC docuseries Panorama aired a hoax in 1957 about the Swiss harvesting spaghetti from trees.
They claimed that the pest, spaghetti weevil, had been terminated. Many people approached the BBC eager to know how to grow their own spaghetti trees.
The idea for the joke was pitched by freelance camera operator Charles de Jaeger, and the editor of Panorama at the time, Michael Peacock, approved of this idea. Mr Jaeger was given a budget of £100.
CNN dubbed the mockumentary ‘the biggest hoax that any reputable news establishment has ever pulled’ decades later.
2 - Grandstand fight
In 1989, the BBC TV sports programme aired a fight between members of staff, with Des Lynam in the background commenting on it.
At the end of the show it was revealed that this fight was an April Fool’s stunt.
3 - Flying penguins
The BBC reported on a newly discovered colony of flying penguins which was filmed on a video segment, featuring Terry Jones walking with the penguins in Antarctica.
This was found to be an elaborate April Fool’s joke.
4 - Tony Blair spoof
UK presenter Nic Tuff from West Midlands radio station pretended to be the British Prime Minister in 1998, when he called the then South African President Nelson Mandela for a chat.
He kept in character all the way until the end of the call, when Nic asked Mandela what he was doing for April Fool’s Day and the line went dead.
5 - Dead fairy prank
In 2007, an illusion designer who worked for magicians, published some images on his website of what appeared to be the corpse of an unknown eight-inch creation, which was claimed to be the mummified remains of a fairy.
He went on to sell the fairy on eBay for £280.
6 - Rickrolling
This was a meme before the internet was popular; it grew out of a similar bait-and-switch trick called ‘duckrolling’ which was popular on the -4chan website in 2006.
It involves the abrupt appearance of Rick Astley’s 1987 music video for his hit song ‘Never Gonna Give You Up’.