The Origins of April Fool’s Day — and the Best Pranks!
Unless you’ve been hiding out in a man cave or she shed somewhere, you are likely aware that April 1 is April Fool’s Day — the day when it’s perfectly acceptable for grown people to play childish pranks on each other. It’s not a public holiday, so we don’t get the day off. But maybe that’s a good thing, because playing pranks on our work friends, and avoiding doing actual work for much of the day, is really half the fun. Here are 34 easy-to-pull-off pranks to play on your friends and colleagues.
How on earth did this strange custom start? Even the great Wiki machine has no equivocal answer. But according to The Museum of Hoaxes, the first known literary reference dates back to 1392 and Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales — that lovely tome, beloved by so many of us who had to memorize bits in middle English to prepare us for SATs and Life and all that stuff. And doesn’t that just sound like a fitting April Fool’s joke in itself? Thank you, teachers past.
In the chapter called the Nun’s Priest’s Tale, the vain cock Chauntecler is tricked by a sly fox and almost eaten on what appears to be April 1:
When that the monthe in which the world bigan
That highte March, whan God first maked man,
Was complet, and passed were also
Syn March bigan thritty dayes and two
Chaucer scholars are not all in agreement about the date. Did Chaucer mean thirty-two days after March was complete, which would make it May 3? Or thirty-two days since March began, which would be April 1? (Via The Museum of Hoaxes)
We’d like to think he meant April 1, as a story of a foolish chicken and a sly fox who tricked him is so fitting an illustration for April Fool’s Day.
Whatever the origins, April Fool’s Day is celebrated in countries all over the world, from Poland to Scotland to Iran, in a similar jokey fashion. In recent years, April Fool’s has taken off on social media, and Internet pranks abound. From cat and dog tricks to clip-on man buns to self-driving Domino’s cars, the jokes keep rolling in. Here are 25 of the best April Fool’s Day Internet pranks.
At CBC Parents, Jill Dubien is playing a lunch prank — packing creepy crawlies in her kids’ lunch boxes. This one is easy to pull off on family members or work colleagues, and Jill gives the step by step.
What’s your favorite Internet prank for April Fools Day? Tag us on Instagram @britandco.
(Image via CBC Parents)