US, WASHINGTON (ORDO NEWS) — On April 1, an unofficial nationwide holiday, April Fool’s Day, also called April Fools’ Day or All Fool’s Day, is celebrated annually around the world.
Despite the fact that the festival has been celebrated for several centuries by different cultures, its exact origin remains unknown. It is believed that it has common roots with the ancient days of spring, when the population of ancient cities and rural places gathered in forests and groves and held festivities with songs, dances, sacrifices to the gods.
The ancient Greeks believed that man must necessarily laugh.
According to another version, the custom of joking on April 1 is associated with the transfer of the new year. In the middle of the 16th century, King Charles IX reformed the calendar in France, moving the New Year to January 1, but many continued to celebrate April 1. The people who presented gifts to each other on this day were called “April Fools.”
According to written sources, by the end of the 17th century, Fool’s Day was definitely known in Great Britain . In the XVIII century, references to the Day of the Fool became numerous, the British and French spread the holiday in their American colonies.
In Russia, April Fool’s Day came from Germany , probably at the end of the XVII century, but no later than the European travel of Peter I. The first massive April Fools in Russia, which preserved the data held in Moscow in 1703. Heralds walked the streets and invited everyone to come to the “unheard of performance.” There was no end to the audience. And when, at the appointed hour, the curtain opened, everyone saw on the stage a banner with the inscription: “First April – do not trust anyone!”. On this “unheard of performance” ended.
April 1 is currently celebrated worldwide. In France, this holiday is called poisson d’avril (April fish). French children on this day stick paper fish on the backs of their friends. When the object of the mockery discovers a joke, the joker shouts: “Poisson d’avril!”
On April 1, the British sewed sleeves on their sweaters to each other, blowed the middle of the eggs, sent a pair of boots on one left foot, a hat with one brim, a rope for tying the wind or a bucket without a bottom as a gift to friends.
In Finland, the day of jokes and deceptions is connected with the old village custom during big work – threshing bread or slaughtering livestock – giving children comic orders.
They were sent to the neighboring courtyard for some non-existent, but supposedly essential tool: glass scissors, a chaff plow or a protractor for the dunghill. The neighbors, in turn, “remembered” that they had already given this instrument to others, and the child was sent to the next yard.
A classic of the April Fools’ Day genre is a puffy wallet thrown onto the road tied to a rope, or a piece of paper that clings quietly to the back with the words “Give me a kick!” Housewives serve chocolate cakes with cotton or chalk on the table, and sugar is poured into salt shakers.
The media traditionally joke on this day, however, sometimes in April Fools’ publications, fiction is difficult to distinguish from reality. So, as early as 1698, an article appeared in the British press informing that on the first day of April in the Tower everyone would be able to see the exponential washing of white lions. Crowds of curious Londoners rushed to the walls of the famous prison. After 200 years, one of the British newspapers published this comic announcement again , and the inhabitants of London again ran to the Tower.
A programmatic example of April Fools’ humor was the program “Panorama” on the BBC , released in the 1950s, when very few of the British traveled abroad. The program talked about growing spaghetti in Switzerland.
At the same time, various tricks of pasta cultivation and the danger of spring frosts for them were described.
In 1988, the Izvestia newspaper reported that Argentine soccer star Diego Maradona was in talks with Spartak Moscow. The newspaper said that the famous Russian football club offered Maradona six million dollars, and Diego, most likely, will not be able to resist such a generous offer and will play for Spartak.
On April 1, 1992, an article was published in the Moskovskaya Pravda newspaper reporting plans to build a second metro in Moscow, but no one would close the old metro. It was reported that this would be done for “market and rivalry.”
In 1997, many users of the World Wide Web were sent emails with a warning that from March 31 to April 2 the Internet was closed for general cleaning. The letter said that five powerful Japanese robots will clean the network.
But not all draws were so harmless. In 1992, London Time announced that Belgium would soon be dissolved. It was clarified that the north of the country would have to join the Netherlands , and the south – to France. This joke caused a storm of indignation, and the British Foreign Secretary had to explain on television.
On April 1, 2017, the Russian Foreign Ministry posted on the social network a comic audio recording that mimics the answering machine of Russian embassies. The “caller” is invited to press one button or another to “use the services of Russian hackers,” “order a call from a Russian diplomat to political rivals,” or learn about “interference with the election.”
The US Associated Press agency almost believed in a joke about hackers and contacted the Russian Foreign Ministry to make sure that the April Fool’s Facebook post was a joke.
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The article is written and prepared by our foreign editors from different countries around the world – material edited and published by Ordo News staff in our US newsroom press.