Many explanations have been offered for the custom of playing tricks on people on the first of April, but not many people agree on the real origin of the custom. People use this date to play practical on their friends throughout the Americas, Europe, and the Middle East, which means that at least we are united in our sense of humor.
One theory dates back to Roman mythology. According to the legend, in the beginning of April Proserpina (Roman goddess and queen of the underworld) was enjoying springtime by sitting in a meadow with her lap filled with flowers when Pluto, god of the dead and ruler of the underworld, saw her and carried her screaming to the lower world. Ceres, her mother, heard the echo of her screams and went in search of the voice, but her search was like a errand as it is impossible to find an echo.
There is a more plausible explanation. April fooling became customary in 1564 in France after Charles IX adopted the reformed calendar, changing the year to begin on January 1st. It had been traditional for people to give new year’s gifts and make visits on the first of April, which was the new year under the old calendar. People then, just the same as they would now, protested against the change and the new calendar. They began the king’s change by sending their friends joke gifts and dressing up and making visits of pretended ceremony on April first.
The early settlers in America brought the custom with them from Europe, where it is observed until today. Many public places, such as the zoos and aquariums, even disconnect their phones on this date to avoid calls. Newspapers, radio stations, TV stations and web sites have all invented elaborate jokes to play on the public. One of the best ones was when BBC broadcast a film showing Swiss farmers picking freshly grown spaghetti in their fields. They called the report the Swiss Spaghetti Harvest. BBC received so many requests from people who wanted to buy a spaghetti plant that the next day they had to admit it was an April Fools’ .
Internet opened up a whole new field for Aprils Fools’ Day . On April Fools’ Day in 2016, an internet sports news site reported that Barcelona’s Lionel Messi had agreed to a €500 million deal to switch to Real Madrid. A reporter named “Lirpa Loof” signed the article and few of the upset soccer fans noticed that this name was “April Fool” spelled backwards.
Using your English, try to think up a good April Fools’ joke, even if you can’t do it, and plan it carefully. For example, what could you do if you were the editor of a newspaper? A director of a TV station? The owner of a restaurant? A teacher? The manager of your condominium or apartment building? The mayor of your city? The possibilities are endless, but you must make your plans in English only.
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