Why did April 1 become “April Fool’s Day”?

Why did April 1 become “April Fool’s Day”?
Why did April 1 become “April Fool’s Day”?

April 1st is a day when attention must be paid to false news. Because it is “April Fool’s Day”, some big companies, like Google, tend to play tricks on people. This year, Volkswagen “burned the start” and gave something to say claiming that it would change its name. But why was April 1 chosen as “April Fool’s Day”?

There are different versions for the reason for the date, but what is known is that it is not a recent tradition and that it was born in Europe in the middle of the 12th century. It is believed that the first mention of April 1 was made by Geoffrey Chaucer in his work “Tales of Canterburry”.


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The version most accepted by historians says that even after the adoption of the Gregorian calendar by the European kingdoms, some territories still followed an old calendar, in which the end of the year happened at the beginning of April. These people had a party that started in the last week of March and continued until the first of April.

Pejoratively, the French called these people “poisson d’avril”, which can be translated as “April fools”, which is the way the date is called in English-speaking places. At the end of the Renaissance period, the northern European kingdoms, mainly France and England, started using the date to make pranks.

Evolution of the date

The tradition evolved and became very traditional in the United States and Britain. With the rise of mass media in the twentieth century, the jokes were enhanced and created some classics.

In 1957, the then newly created British TV network BBC aired a report on the “spaghetti harvest” in southern Italy, on the border with Switzerland, which had been anticipated because of the good weather in the region. Since television was a novelty, many people believed it.

Here in Brazil, we have also been victims of this tradition. In 1988, the scientific journal New Scientist published that German scientists would have managed to combine oxen genes with tomato cells and created a kind of “vegetable meat”. A major Brazilian magazine fell and ended up publishing an article reporting the research as if it were real and calling it “Boimate”.

Today, those who have the most fun with April 1 are technology companies, such as Google and Microsoft and Google, as well as large fast food chains, with emphasis on Burger King, which almost always publishes a bizarre snack on this date.

With information from Forbes

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