April Fools’ Day is celebrated in many countries on April 1 every year. Sometimes referred to as All Fools’ Day, April 1 is not a national holiday, but is widely recognized and celebrated as a day when people play practical jokes and hoaxes on each other.
In Italy, France and Belgium, children and adults traditionally tack paper fishes on each other’s back as a trick and shout “April fish!” in their local languages (pesce d’aprile!, poisson d’avril! and aprilvis! in Italian, French and Flemish, respectively). Such fish feature prominently on many French late 19th to early 20th century April Fools’ Day postcards.
The earliest recorded association between April 1 and foolishness can be found in Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales (1392). Many writers suggest that the restoration of January 1 by Pope Gregory XIII as New Year’s Day of the Gregorian Calendar in the 16th century was responsible for the creation of the holiday, sometimes questioned for earlier references.
April Fools’ Day 2013: The Best (And Worst) From Britain’s Newspapers
In a year when our weather has gone topsy-turvy, former top politicians have ended up in jail and polls show that Boris Johnson could wipe out Labour’s lead in a general election, you’d be forgiven for overlooking a few of this year’s April Fools’ stories.
We’ve rounded up the best from the press this year. Did you spot them?
The Daily Mail wins top prize for this story about budget cuts forcing Royal Mail staff to train owls to deliver internal mail.
“When high-flying trainer Amy Smith hit on the idea of using the owls, colleagues were sceptical, but she managed to persuade them it was far from a bird-brained plan because of the owls’ innate aptitude for the job.”
What a hoot…
At the Independent, journalists reported that cabinet ministers can buy their own red box for little under £1,000 after being sacked or reshuffled.
Whitehall sources suggest that the decision to allow ministers to purchase their own red boxes was made to discourage light-fingered frontbenchers from “losing” boxes just before their departure from office, the paper said.
“There have been very, very naughty instances of boxes going for a walk – usually around election time,” said one source.
No one was fooled by the ‘Guardian Goggles‘ despite a professionally made video.
The Metro did a quite spectacular round-up of April Fools jokes from other sites that weren’t actually real. The Tesco Value 3D food printer is amazing.
The Telegraph attempted to convince us of the government’s “Lights Tsars“, tasked with turning the nation’s unnecessary lights off.
And in a second April Fool they also described a new musical called ‘The Coalition’, which “focuses very much on the relationship between David Cameron and Nick Clegg and it has a big, operatic feel to it – I mean, it’s a sort of love story that’s gone wrong”.
And who composed it? Why, a chap named Olaf Dyliparos of course!
The Today Programme got in the fooling act with their “train barcodes”, a new hi-tech way for trainspotters to fulfil their fancy.
The specially elongated codes, for when the train is speeding past, drew the ire of a certain Pete Waterman.
He said: “It’s not the same thing. It’s like email – you can’t beat meeting people.”
Indeed Mr Waterman.
The Mirror as introduced filters to view it’s paper through because “anyone can pretend the pictures they capture today on hugely expensive and impressive pieces of technology were actually taken on crappy old cameras from the ’70s.”
Tom Liston, ‘competition director’ said in a video: “We are so close to the end. Tonight at midnight, YouTube.com will no longer be accepting entries. After eight amazing years, it’s finally time to review everything that has been uploaded to our site and begin the process of selecting a winner.”
And according to The Sun, Jodie Marsh teamed up with Ronseal to make brush on tan ‘that does exactly what it says on the tin’.
“It felt a bit weird, at first, using a paint brush and a tin to put on my tan but I’m used to it now and I refuse to use anything else,” she told the paper.
Fancy making a quick buck? Google’s treasure map from suspiciously named pirate, Captain Kid, could help.
And of course, the best April Fools of the year was our very own “Shlide”, London’s latest thrill attraction.
And what about stories we WISH were April Fools? Well, for a start there’s the incredibly unfunny yarn about it being the COLDEST EASTER EVER! We would much prefer if the weatherman was having a laugh and we were relaxing in roasting spring temperatures.
And what about the story of Princess Diana sneaking into a bar dressed as a man? Completely true says Cleo Rocos!
On a more serious note, tensions in the Korean peninsula would be much funnier if they weren’t accompanied by a rogue nuclear state and US military drills.