The Murky Origins of April Fools’ Day

April Fools’ Day has a long tradition of pranks, ranging from family pranks to the pranks that went horribly wrong, to public escapade.

It is an annual tradition to play practical jokes and hoaxes on April 1. However, the exact origins of the day have remained a mystery.

It’s a non-religious holiday and a recognized day in the Western world. It is when children prank their parents, colleagues prank their coworkers and vice versa.

Many Historians hypothesize that the day dates back to 1582. It is when France changed the Julian calendar to the Gregorian one.

People had moved April Fools’ Day to January 1 when they could not recognize that the start of the new year. They did not cease to celebrate it during the last week of March through April 1.

Some people would include practical jokes and hoaxes back then by placing paper fish on their backs. Then they would have them called as poisson d’avril (April fish).

This day soon became popular and was spread across entire Britain in the 18th century.

According to Britannica, since Charles IX ordered that the new year would begin on January 1 instead of Easter, as had been customary in Christendom. Those that clung to the old ways were called “April Fools” because Easter was a lunar and hence movable day.

The custom became a two-day event in Scotland marking the beginning with “hunting the gowk,” in which people were sent on a ludicrous trip.

An article published on Reader’s Digest suggests that there is a possibility that the Roman tradition of Hilaria has started it all. It is a spring festival observed around March 25.

While some argue that it’s hard to track the history to prove whether the day is legit or a coincidence.

Here are some April Fool’s pranks that went horribly wrong, from “April Fool’s nearly sparked a war” to playing an “April Fool’s prank fatally shocked a wife.”

April Fool’s nearly sparked a war

In 1986 an April Fool’s prank had nearly sparked a war when an Israeli intelligence officer shared a piece of fake news on the radio that an attempt is made to murder an Islamic leader.

Shortly after the news was shared, tensions flared up in Israel. the officer mentioned that Lebanese Shia Muslim leader Nabih Berri was murdered or severely wounded in an attempt. After a while, the news was proven a hoax and the officer was court-martialed for sharing a hoax.

The giant smoke cloud prank

In 1974, on the morning of April 1 residents of Sitka city in Alaska caught a gruesome sight. They saw a giant smoke cloud over Mount Edgecumbe. The sight terrified the residents who then rushed to save themselves. To investigate the blaze a chopper flew over the site.

The pilot found a number of tyres afire on the summit and a message was there read “April Fool”.

It was revealed after inquiries that someone hired a chopper to fly tyres that were soaked in kerosene and burned them to celebrate April Fools’ Day prank.

Suicide for April Fools’ Day Ruse

A man in the USA back in 2004 played his death prank on his former wife. When his ex-wife saw him hanging, she immediately informed the police. The man was arrested after the officer found him alive.

April Fool’s prank fatally shocked a wife

A newlywed farmer in Tennessee, United States, frightened his wife to death in 1896. The farmer, known as John Ahrens, dressed up as a tramp and wore a white face mask on April Fool’s Day. He then went up to the door and knocked. When his wife saw him, she passed out and died an hour later from shock. He had not expected the joke to have such a horrific result.

Pranks become a priority for people on April Fool’s Day. However, they do not always go as expected. They can result in catastrophic outcomes.

Whatever the origins may be, these practical jokes by no means are justifiable to hurt other just for a short-lived pleasure.

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