Top 10 April Fools pranks
The history behind the origin of April Fool’s Day, also called All Fool’s Day remains to this day a mystery. Interesting enough, all stories involve some sort of a practical joke or gag, that provoked a reaction of amusement, and sometimes offence, in the audience. Stay with us to learn all about the first pranks that helped create this festival, along with the new pranks that fill the internet and the mass media, and serve to entertain us during this special day.
First on our list is the thought-to-be-original celebration of April Fools Day in France of 1582, when the then Pope Gregory XIII ordered a new calendar to replace the old one. In this calendar, the New Year’s Day was on January 1st. The story goes that many did not accepted this change, or had not heard of it at all, and continued celebrating the New Year on April 1st. After this event, they were made fun of, and when occasion arouse some of these so-called traditionalists where sent on “fool’s errands”, creating the traditions we know of today. Many assume that this was the moment when the practices of fooling and pranking the innocent and naive spread to all Europe, becoming a annual tradition in many countries and regions.
However, there are some other explanations for the origin of this iconic day, second on our list, by a professor of history at Boston University. He stated that is was during the reign of Constantine that the practice began, when court jesters and fools told the Roman emperor that they were better to rule than the king himself. This appeared to amuse Constantine, who allowed a jester named Kugel to sit on the throne and rule for a day. With this opportunity at hand the jester passed an edict declaring absurdity on that day which became a yearly event ever since. An article on this story was published by many newspapers in 1983, but it was only weeks later that the Associated Press realized that it was all made up by the professor, and that they had became April fools themselves.
Apart from the older tales, the presence of mass media intervention eluding the audience into believing lies and untruths for a day became popularized. The first big media trick, and third on our listing, happened when The New York Sun printed an article claiming that life on the moon had been discovered. This was named the Great Moon Hoax and it was the cause of the so-called “moon-fever” in the United States at the time. As for television, one of the earlier “tricks” of April Fools, and our number four, happened in 1957, when BBC reported that in Switzerland farmers were experiencing a record spaghetti crop, going to the extent of showing footage of people harvesting noodles from trees. Needless to say, numerous viewers were fooled.
Number five and six are pranks of the most prominent name of the online world, the Google company. This american-based enterprise has become known for their yearly taunts on viewers of their many platforms, even finding an opportunity to promote products or to announce changes. This was the case on April 1, 2008, when Youtube linked featured videos on all the international homepages to the music video of Rick Astley and his song “Never Gonna Give You Up”, causing the “Rickrolled” effect, talked about to this day. Another promotion of their product through a jokingly tone, and a double prank,was with the announcement of Gmail, in 2004, with an unprecedented and unbelievable free 1 GB space.
At number seven we have the Taco Bell prank of 1996, when they announced the purchase of Philadelphia’s Liberty Bell and the name change to Taco Liberty Bell. This announcement caused the great revolt of the consumers of the fast-food restaurant chain, and a great number of messages and telephone calls were made and sent to the chains headquarters.
Another known prankster within the internet community is the website PornHub, that makes the list at number eight, when in 2018, changed its name to HornHub and switched the pornography videos into videos of women blowing horns. As for fans of football, our number nine should sound interesting enough. At the annual Yale-Harvard football game, students of Yale University dressed up as Harvard supporters and started distributing placards to their rival’s fans. When the time came during the game, the Harvard fans that had been handed the placards lifted them up to discover they were spelling “We Suck”.
Lastly on our list, at number ten, we move to an international event, when a portuguese news channel published a fake video notifying their audience that giant spiders had appeared in the 25 of April Bridge. The video and news spread all over the news, becoming the topic of conversations for weeks.
So, did you know any of these pranks? And if so, where you fooled by any of them? Continue reading our weekly VocApp blog for more interesting lists and topics.