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Beware, because for all you know, somebody is thinking of a ‘fool-proof’ plan to make you an April Fool! April 1 is not just the beginning of another month, it also happens to be dedicated to a majority of the human population (just kidding). With a giveaway name itself, April Fool’s Day is celebrated across the world by people pulling a prank or two on their loved ones and friends. While you go about making a fool of yourself and your friends, here are ten fascinating facts about the day that you probably didn’t know yet.
* Earliest recorded April Fool’s celebration began in 1932, when ‘Syn March bigan thritty dayes and two’ — an error in a copy of Geoffrey Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales changed its whole meaning. This was when the original line of the copy meant 32 days after March that is May 2, but readers misunderstood it for March 32 or April 1, and thus began the April Fool’s celebration.
* The Romans during the ancient times used to celebrate the festival of Hilaria or the day of jokes. Also known as the Roman Laughing Day, the festival was a day of joy and merry-making, which people celebrated on the March equinox in the honour of Cybele, the mountain mother or the Anatolian Earth goddess. Masquerades, games and amusements were prominent during this festival.
* Apparently, in the year 1974 on April Fool’s Day, a man set 70 tires on fire on a dormant volcano in Alaska. The locals of the place thought that the volcano had erupted and got scared.
* In 2002, NASA reportedly posted the moon’s photo on April Fool’s Day. While that’s absolutely ordinary, they tried to prove that the moon was made of cheese and even had an expiry date, with the photo!
* Apparently, Boese of the Museum of Hoaxes had pointed out that April Fool’s is the day when inequalities in the society could openly be confronted and showed down. For instance, the street urchins of the 1800s reportedly used to play tricks on the elite gentlemen of London.
* Apparently, in Scotland, the day used to be known as “Hunt the Gowk Day”, in which, Gowk is Scottish for a foolish person. A traditional prank on this day was said to involve sending the ‘fool’ to deliver a sealed message that read “Dinna laugh, dinna smile. Hunt the gowk another mile.” And thus the fool continued to go from door to door, until he realised what was going on or someone sympathised with him.
* Even the BBC reportedly joined in the April Fool’s Day celebrations with a spoof documentary on “spaghetti crops”. The documentary showed a family that was carrying out its yearly spaghetti harvest, by plucking them off trees and laying them to dry under the sun. The channel was apparently called by a lot of viewers following the broadcast, all wondering if spaghetti trees were a thing!
* Search engine Google is known for its rad April Fool’s jokes every year, that a lot of people, no matter what, continue to fall for. In 2013, they unveiled the Google Wallet Mobile ATM that claimed it could attach itself to most smartphones that men use and could hence be used to “dispense money instantly and effortlessly”. “If your mobile ATM is running low on funds, a self-driving, armored, hybrid vehicle will be alerted and dispatched to your location–arriving within minutes to quickly and safely refill [your] ATM,” the plan reportedly claimed. And not surprisingly, when it finally decided to unveil its Gmail service on April 1, 2004, a lot of people assumed it to be another joke!
* The BBC did not just get people to wonder if there was after all scope for spaghetti trees and plants to grow on this earth, they also in 1976, managed to convince their listeners that the Earth’s gravity would temporarily decrease because of a special alignment of planets. Interestingly, quite a lot of people claimed they felt the ‘effects’ and phoned in to tell them so.
* Apparently, in the 1960s, there was just one black and white TV channel in Sweden. People were ‘one day’ gifted with the good news that they could change their channel’s display colour and all they had to do was pull a ‘nylon stocking over the screen’.