10 Facts About April Fools’ Day Other Than It’s Not a Public Holiday

Image: interstid / Shutterstock.com

As one of the least celebrated ‘holidays’ in Singapore, I personally feel that we have to give more credit to this day.

Under the condition that safety comes first, a friendly prank can lighten everyone’s mood.

Back when I was schooling, I was lucky to have adventurous classmates that dared to pull a prank on my teachers.

Unlike in Singapore, April Fools’ Day is actually a big deal in the European countries, and the list of classic pranks is endless.

Although it is not an official holiday, here are ten reasons why we should totally include it in our calendar!

Most famous theory

There isn’t an answer to the most frequently-asked question: When did April Fools begin?

The first association between 1st of April and ‘foolishness’ was seen in 1392.

In Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales (1392), the “Nun’s Priest’s Tale” is set Syn March bigan thritty dayes and two. People believe that there was a copying error and it was actually Syn March was gon.

Hence, what was originally supposed to be 32 days after March ends (2 May) became 32 days after March begins (1 April).

Image: Exodus Books

However, that was not the most supported theory. It was this: According to Fact Monster, New Year’s Day fell on/around the first of April in ancient cultures.

The day is set according to the spring/vernal equinox (first day of spring) which usually falls on either March 20th or March 21st.

On this special day, the sun shines directly on the equator, and we get almost equal hours of sunlight and nighttime.

Peter Tay meets a Genie who helps him wipe off three of his past mistakes. You won’t have expected what he wished for for his third wish. Watch it here:

 

Image: The Epoch Times

In 1582, the Pope replaced the old Julian Calendar, which was predominant in the Roman world, with the Gregorian Calendar.

It is quite difficult to explain the whole leap year concept (you can read it here), but basically, the latter is now 13 days behind the former.

After the reform, New Year’s Day was ‘shifted’ to Jan 1st.

Of course, there will always be some blur sotongs out there who have no idea what’s going on.

Some continued to celebrate New Year’s Day on the first of April, and that’s how the ‘fool’ came about!

April Fools’ Day…s?

In Scotland, April Fools’ is celebrated over two days.

The second day is called “Taily day”, where people play pranks related to one’s tail (back).

Pranksters will stick papers with the words “Kick me” on people’s back, like the one below:

Image: Travellati Tours

The thirst for fun and laughter probably explains Scotland’s rising happiness index over the years.

Meanwhile in Singapore…everyone’s working lah.

Only till noon

According to The Independent, Britain started putting a duration to April Fools’ during the 17th century due to Shig-Shag day.

On this day, celebrants put oak sprigs in their hats to show loyalty to the monarchy, with reference to Charles II’s hiding in an oak tree.

Image: The History Man

Those that did not observe this tradition can only be ‘fooled’ until noon.

Instead, those who pull a prank after noon are known as the ‘fools’ instead.

So, want to appear high SES? Tell others about this if you kena fooled after noon. You’ll gain some respect and probably lose some friends #justsaying

BBC’s legendary pranks

On 1st April 1976, the BBC told its listeners that a temporary alignment of the planets will cause gravity on Earth to drop.

FYI, that didn’t happen. But the phone lines were flooded by callers who said that they felt it.

Oh well. Self-fulfilling at its best.

In another classic example, BBC claimes that spaghetti grows from “spaghetti trees”.

Image: The Telegraph

Hmm… (remember, back then, there was no Google)

Till now, the credible BBC is still religiously pulling pranks on its audience during April Fools’.

Image: Tenor

But I’m pretty sure with Google, no one’s gonna get pranked.

NASA too…

To join in the fun, NASA fooled everyone in 2002 with a picture that proved the moon was made of cheese.

And it even has an expiry date!

Image: phys.ncku.edu.tw

A spokesperson even advised to “completely devour the moon by tomorrow”.

It had to be the best joke for cheese lovers, thought I’m sure everyone, except SpongeBob, knew that it wasn’t real.

Not a joke!

To be honest, I’m one of those that will question all things on the ‘sacred’ day itself.

And to all those who were like me and ignored a tsunami warning, I’m sorry.

On 1 April 1946, people ignored a tsunami warning.

Let’s just say it wasn’t the best timing to ‘outsmart’ others.

Image: SlideShare

On a relatively safer note, Google decided to launch Gmail on the eve of April Fools’.

Image: Time Magazine

And so many laughed it off cos the application had too-good-to-be-true features.

Oh well, Google strikes again!

Moron of the story: if you’ve any major event, don’t schedule it on the 1st of April.

Spring Fever

Actually, April Fools’ isn’t the only ‘silly’ festival being celebrated around the world.

For example, the Romans celebrate the Hilaria on March 25, rejoicing in the resurrection of Attis, who represents the fruits of the earth, which die in winter and rise again in the spring.

Image: Sofas & More

The Hindu calendar has Holi, also known as the ‘Festival of Colours’.

Image: Hindu Human Rights

The Jewish calendar has Purim, which celebrates the salvation that the Jews received.

Image: Calendarcraze

These joyous and fun occasions coincide with the change in season, making March a highly-anticipated month!

Coinciding with Mercury Retrograde…

New phrase? Same.

You might think that it’s not that important cos you have never heard of it. But after this explanation, you better think twice…

Mercury retrograde refers to the period of time when the planet Mercury starts rotating so fast that it looks like it’s rotating backwards (calm down, it doesn’t).

Astrology enthusiasts would probably know this: Mercury rules over all types of communication.

When the planet retrogrades, things go haywire. In fact, some would advise to backup important information on our devices.

Here’s a video that explains more:

According to Bustle, April Fools’ Day will coincide with a Mercury retrograde this year.

Well, if your prank goes wrong, at least you have something to blame on!

…and Easter

If you didn’t know, Good Friday is coming up!

Good Friday falls on the Friday preceding Easter Sunday. Easter coincides with the Spring Equinox, which I’ve mentioned above.

Okay so what’s the link?

To make a long story short, Christians wanted a holiday to celebrate Christ’s resurrection, which happened after the Jewish Passover that was celebrated on the first full moon after the Equinox.

This year, the Equinox is on March 20, Passover begins on March 30, full moon on March 31 and Easter on April 1.

Since 1900, Easter and April Fools’ clashed four times:

1923, 1934, 1945, and 1956.

After this year, the next time would be 2029.

2018’s Best Joke

We won’t know whether Google’s going to introduce an edible smartphone or Coca-Cola is coming out with a new spaceship, but last year, the most epic joke (at least in Singapore) comes from, IMO, the one from NP.

They promised to go air-condition-less and let’s just say that people sweated over the news.

Here are the best-est ones last year (2018). Who would win this year?