While the origins of April Fools' Day are sketchy at best, one of the more popular theories dates back to the 16th century. Prior to 1582, the new year began on April 1
When the new year was moved to Jan. 1 in 1582, there were some people who hadn't heard or didn't believe the change in the date, so they continued to celebrate New Year's Day on April 1.
These "April fools" were often ridiculed by being sent on "fools errands" or were made the butt of other practical jokes.
Below are some other fun and interesting April Fools' Day facts:
- The Scottish love April Fools' Day. In fact they love it so much, they celebrate it for two days. In Scotland they call it "hunting the gowk" (the cuckoo), and if you are tricked, you are an "April gowk." To really get "behind" the holiday, the second day, called "Taily Day," is devoted to pranks involving the back side of the body. The "butt" of these jokes may often have a "kick me" sign placed on their back.
- There's something fishy going on in France. Kids fool their friends by taping a paper fish to their backs. When the victim discovers the fish, the prankster yells "Poisson d'Avril!" (April Fish!)
- In Portugal, April Fools' Day is actually celebrated on the Sunday and Monday before Lent. The big trick there? Throwing flour at your friend's face.
- In Poland everyone takes part in April Fools' Day activities, including the media and sometimes public institutions. All serious activities are completely avoided for the day. A favorite joke? Pouring water on people.
- According to this CareerBuilder.com survey, 32% of workers say they have either initiated or been on the receiving end of an April Fools’ Day prank at work.
- In certain areas of Belgium, children lock out their parents or teachers and only let them in if they promise to give them sweets.
- Depending on where you live in England, instead of a "fool" you could be called a "noodle," "noddy," "gobby" or "gob."
- April Fools' Day goes beyond just switching out the sugar bowl with salt. Check out this list of the Top 100 April Fools' Day Hoaxes. They include the Swiss Spaghetti Harvest , the baseball pitching phenom Sidd Finch and the Left-Handed Whopper.
- Mark Twain appeared to be a big fan of "fools." Some of his pinings on fools include: "It's better to keep your mouth shut and be thought a fool than to open it and leave no doubt" and "Let us be thankful for the fools. But for them the rest of us could not succeed" and "The first of April is the day we remember what we are the other 364 days of the year."