Happy April Fools’ Day! Even though Laurie’s Loves is usually about my favorite clothes of the week, we’re gonna change things up a little bit today. In addition to loving clothes, I also love a good joke – laughter is the best ab workout around! Ever wanted to know how this prankster holiday got its origins? Read on!
April Fool’s Day is way old. Apparently, even people in the medieval times were practical pranksters. The first mention of any recognized joke day was in Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, written in 1392.
Some claim that the day originates as far back as Noah and the Ark, when he sent a dove out on the first day of April, too early for it to land anywhere dry. Others say that it began when Druid priests would try to ward off evil spirits during the first beginnings of spring (right around April 1). Another possible explanation is that prior to 1582, the new year was celebrated in a week long festival that ended on April 1. Under Charles the IX, the new Gregorian Calendar was introduced, moving New Year’s Day to January as we now celebrate it.
Anybody who continued to celebrate April 1 as the beginning of the new year was scoffed at as a “fool.”
Around the World
All over the world, people have some really interesting traditions.
In France, people try to attach the poisson d’avril (April’s fish) to people’s backs without them noticing. They also place really funny-looking figurines and objects all over their houses. Similarly, in Italy, people say pesce d’aprile to refer to any April fools’ joke. Both terms refer to a newly-hatched fish, which is young and naive and an easy catch.
In Scotland, the holiday is more commonly known as Gowkie Day, referring to the gowk bird, or the cuckoo. Some people think that since “cuckoo” and “cuckold” are so close, Gowkie Day was originally a day that gave license to make sexual pranks. The tradition has now transitioned to the much milder practice of taping “kick me signs” to peoples’ backs. Oh those silly Scots…
In Poland, the holiday is mostly for children and is known as Pryma Aprylis. In addition to pulling pranks, people also dress up in costumes.
Some of the Best Jokes
In 1856, a group of people were mailed these prestigious-looking invitations to come view the annual “Washing of the Lions” ceremony at the Tower of London. Although there was indeed a menagerie at the Tower, there was certainly no washing of lions. Although I probably would have paid to see that.
In 1996, Taco Bell Corporation made the announcement that it had bought the Liberty Bell and would be renaming it the Taco Liberty Bell. In response to questions about the hoax sale, White House Press Secretary Mike McCurry responded that the Lincoln Memorial had also been sold and renamed the Ford Lincoln Mercury Memorial.
In 1998, Burger King ran an ad in USA Today announcing they were adding the special new “Left-Handed Whopper” to their menu for all their left-handed patrons.The advertisement specified that the new burger would still have all the same ingredients as the original, but they would be rotated 180 degrees so that all the condiments, etc. would fall to the right. Thousands of people fell for the hoax, and the best part? Many people came in specifically requesting the “old, right-handed” burger.
All right, ladies — spill! What practical jokes are you going to play on your friends today? What’s the best joke you’ve ever played?