The first day in April is the day most commonly called “April Fool’s Day.” Practical jokes, silliness, and foolishness are a big part of the day. Nobody is exactly sure where the tradition started, though many people think it can be traced back to a change in the calender in 16th century France.
When King Charles IX introduced the Gregorian calender in 1582, it changed the first day of the new year to January first. Before that, it was celebrated during the week of March 25 – April 1. Those that refused to acknowledge the change continued to celebrate on April first and were considered “fools” for not changing. It became commonplace to play jokes on these people.
Now, people all over the world use April Fool’s Day as an excuse to play practical jokes on friends. These are not mean-spirited tricks, just silly jokes. Many newspapers, radio personalities, television shows, and Internet web sites participate in the celebration.
One of the most famous April Fool’s Day hoaxes was carried out in 1957. The BBC television news show, Panorama, announced that Swiss farmers had grown a wonderful “spaghetti crop” and showed a video of them packing spaghetti from trees! In 1998, Burger King advertised its new Left-Handed Whopper on April Fool’s Day, saying that all of the condiments were placed especially for the left-handed eater. Both of these practical jokes fooled tons of people!