April Fool’s Day

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April Fools’ Day, sometimes called All Fools’ Day is celebrated every year on April 1st by playing practical jokes and spreading hoaxes. The jokes and their victims are called April Fools. People playing April Fool jokes expose their prank by shouting April Fool.

April Fools’ Day has been celebrated for several centuries by different cultures, its exact origins remain a mystery. Some historians have speculated that April Fools’ Day, dates back to 1582, when France switched from the Julian Calendar to the Gregorian Calendar. The people who were slow to get the news or failed to recognize that the start of the new year had moved to January 1st and continued to celebrate it during the last week of march through April 1st became the butt of the jokes and hoaxes. Historians have also linked April Fools’ Day to ancient festival known as Hilaria, celebrated in Rome at the end od March and has people dressing up in disguises. There is also speculation that April Fools’ Day is tied to the vernal equinox, or the first day of spring, when Mother Nature fooled people with unpredictable weather.

In the modern times, people have gone great lengths to create elaborate April Fools’ Day pranks. Newspapers, radio and TV stations and even Web sites have participated in the April 1st tradition of reporting outrageous fictional claims that have fooled audiences. For example, in 1985, Sports Illustrated tricked many of its readers when it ran a made-up article about a rookie pitcher named Sidd Finch, who could throw a fastball over 168 miles per hour. Another example would be from 1998, when Burger King advertised a “Left-Handed Whopper,” which tricked tons of clueless customers when they requested the fake sandwich. That is just a couple of the pranks that big companies have played on people.

The practice of April Fool pranks and hoaxes are controversial and there are mixed opinions of the critics. There are both positive and negative sides to April Fools’ pranks. The positive side of April Fools’ can be good for one’s health, because it encourages jokes, hoaxes, pranks and good old belly laughs. With the laughter brings the benefits of stress relief and reducing strain on the heart. The negative side describes April Fools’ hoaxes as creepy, manipulative, rude and a bit nasty. Sometimes, April Fools’ jokes or hoaxes are misinterpreted, like stories that are intended as jokes are taken seriously. With the negative can come adverse effects, such as confusion, misinformation and even legal consequences. Just be careful with your April Fools’ pranks and think of others before you do them.