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Origin of April Fool’s Day: Why the Practical Jokes?

A pinch, a punch, the first day of the month! Where did the tradition and pranks for April Fool’s Day come from?

If you see footage of penguins flying, don’t believe it today! Watch out for jokers to avoid becoming an April fool this morning. It’s a light-hearted celebration of trickery and practical jokes around the world. On April 1 of every year, pranksters play practical jokes on their friends and colleagues before shouting out ‘April fool!’ Before you send someone off on a ‘fool’s errand’ (does the intern need to find plaid paint or a long stand?), check out how April Fool’s Day came to be the side-splitting holiday it is.

What is the origin of April Fool’s Day?

Unsurprisingly for a day that revels in confusion, the origins of April Fool’s Day are not known for sure. Many trace it back to a decision to change the start of the calendar year from the end of March to January 1 in the 16th century. According to this theory, the people who mistakenly continued to celebrate the New Year hadn’t gotten the memo, and we were seen as fools.

Others believe that April Fool’s Day is linked to historic spring festivals that celebrate misrule, mayhem, and jokes. According to the Museum of Hoaxes, these ‘renewal festivals’ exist in different cultures around the world and often involve the element of disguise and playing pranks.

What are some of the best-known pranks?

  • Since 1986, press releases for the New York City April Fool’s Day Parade (which doesn’t exist) have been issued every year.
  • In 1989, Richard Branson landed a fake UFO to the shock of crowds and passersby near London.
  • In 2008, the BBC caught viewers out by running a video clip of flying penguins, claiming the birds were flying to tropical rainforests in South America to escape the harsh Antarctic weather.
  • Ikea gave us a giggle when it released a high chair for dogs in 2011.

Whether you’re filling the salt shaker with sugar, hiding a whoopee cushion in the living room or sitting back and waiting for a prank, tell us how you’re celebrating this fun holiday!

While you laugh it up today, find time to review your insurance policies to ensure that you’re better protected throughout the year and beyond. Contact the professionals at Unisource Insurance Associates for your insurance policies in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin today!