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  • Writer's pictureHeather Morrison-Tapley

Best April Fool's Joke of All Time


See the link below for what has been called "The best April Fool's joke of all time." lol

But to begin...The ritual of playing jokes on April Fools day is fascinating. Turns out it likely began in Europe in the Middle Ages, though many cultures set aside a day for being foolish and playing pranks. Some trace it back to a passage in Chaucer's The Cantebury Tales (1392) where a character is made a fool on the 32nd day of March, translated as April 1st. Others believe that it came about because in the Middle Ages, New Year's Day was celebrated in late March, in celebrations that ended on April 1st. The people who celebrated New Year's Day on January 1st called the others "April Fools". It actually wasn't until  the mid 1500s that France formally adopted January 1 as New Year's Day. But others dispute this origin of the day. Some even say it dates back to Noah's Ark, when Noah foolishly released a pigeon before the floods abated. In many older traditions the joke involved sending someone on a fool's errand. 

In Scotland it was called  'Huntigowk Day', which translates into  'Hunt the Gowk', "gowk" being Scots for a cuckoo or a foolish person. The traditional prank in Scotland is to send someone out to deliver a sealed message. When the recipient reads the message it says, "Dinna laugh, dinna smile. Hunt the gowk another mile." At which time the recipient says he can only help if he enlists the help of a friend first, he writes an identical message, seals the envelope and sends the "fool" to deliver it to another person. And on and on. In England, April Fools Day is only celebrated until noon, after which time it is no longer OK to play jokes on someone, and anyone pranking someone after noon becomes the April Fool himself.

My favorite April Fool's story was told to me by my British mother who had seen it on TV in England back in 1957, when there was little access to information other than the news or papers, and food from other countries was just starting to make its way into England. This deadpan April Fool's joke was run on the BBC news and believed by millions of viewers. It still totally cracks me up and it has been called "the best April Fool's joke of all time." 


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