For hundreds of years, April 1st has been marked as a day of silliness and pranks. Here are a few facts, (or theories rather,) about the origin of this day of practical jokes...
"April Fools’ Day began in the year 1582, according to one legend, when Pope Gregory XIII (after whom the Gregorian calendar is named) moved the start of the new year from the end of March to the beginning of January. The change was made public, but not everyone got the memo, and those who didn’t and thus continued to celebrate New Year's Day on April 1 were laughed at. 'Because they were seen as foolish, [they were] called April Fools,' medieval historian Ginger Smoak has explained, according to the Huffington Post.
Another myth is based on the same idea but suggests the change in the New Year happened at a slightly different time and place. It attributes the calendar change to France in 1564 -- rather than to the pope -- and when people celebrated the wrong New Year, others would paste paper fish on their backs, which explains why in France, the day is known as April Fish."
"Others insist that April Fools’ Day is a joyous remnant of the age when people used to hold spring festivals marking the end of winter with 'ritualized forms of mayhem and misrule” and when “people play pranks on friends and strangers,' according to the Museum of Hoaxes. Written references to the holiday go as far back as the 1500s, and detailed references begin to crop up in the 1700s, according to the museum, although by then the idea of pranks and all-around silliness on April 1 was well established."
"April 1, 1976: During an early-morning interview on BBC Radio 2, the British astronomer Patrick Moore announced that at 9:47 AM that day a once-in-a-lifetime astronomical event was going to occur. Pluto would pass behind Jupiter, and this planetary alignment would temporarily counteract and lessen the Earth's own gravity. Moore told his listeners that if they jumped in the air at the exact moment the alignment occurred, they would experience a strange floating sensation. When 9:47 AM arrived, the station began receiving hundreds of phone calls from listeners claiming to have felt the sensation. One woman reported that she and her friends had risen from their chairs and floated around the room. Moore had intended his annoucement to be a spoof of a pseudoscientific theory that had recently been promoted in a book called The Jupiter Effect, alleging that a rare alignment of the planets was going to cause massive earthquakes and the destruction of Los Angeles in 1982".
"April 1, 1996: The Taco Bell Corporation took out a full-page ad that appeared in six major newspapers announcing it had bought the Liberty Bell and was renaming it the Taco Liberty Bell. Hundreds of outraged citizens called the National Historic Park in Philadelphia where the bell was housed to express their anger. Their nerves were only calmed when Taco Bell revealed, a few hours later, that it was all a practical joke. The best line of the day came when White House press secretary Mike McCurry was asked about the sale. Thinking on his feet, he responded that the Lincoln Memorial had also been sold. It would now be known, he said, as the Ford Lincoln Mercury Memorial."
Have fun today!
SOURCES: ibtimes.com, Hoaxes.org