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Watch out for the pranks on April’s fool!

The first syllable I bluntly shouted at the news of a dear friend of mine running dawn a vehicle, was NO! Fallowed by tears I have spent the first of April worried more than ever; replicating to the celestial father the few prayers I know over a millions of times. After living a cruel and painful lie for several hours: the one I was imagining to be drowned in pain and lifelessly laying on a hospital’s bed, walked right in front of my eyes driving my anxious core towards insanity. Though the whole event left me with a subconsciously wide confused open mouth, it brought snuffles of laughter to the actors and directors of the day. 

Many holidays are celebrated for all sorts of reasons. Some venerate heroes, others commemorate religious events and others honor national and international events, but April 1 stands out as the only holiday that celebrates foolishness. The day of the fools what a day… really worth celebrating! Matter of fact here in Eritrea many people love to pull pranks, practical jokes and try to get people to believe ridiculous things. Making some unforgettable memories for both parties involved (the fooled ones and the ones pulling the prank), certainly does make April fool’s day one of the few and unforgettable days of the year as well as a light-hearted occasion providing some witty hilarity.

Though the earliest connection of April 1 to playing tricks is documented in a 1561 poem by Flemish writer Eduard de Dene (according to the Museum of Hoaxes site, in the poem a nobleman sends his servant on absurd errands on April 1),we also have witnessed in the past decades some hoaxes socially sanctioned, mainly because during these day ; customary practices range from simple tricks played on friends, family, and coworkers to elaborated media practical jokes for a bigger range of the mass to guzzle.

One of the great media hoaxes of all times was carried out on April 1, 1957 by the BBC, which reported on its news program Panorama that Switzerland was experiencing a buffer spaghetti harvest that year thanks to the favorable weather and the removal of the dread “spaghetti weevil.” Staged video footage showing happy peasants plucking strands of pasta from tall trees was so convincing that many viewers actually called the network to ask how they could grow their own. Nineteen years later BBC made another big hit: on April 1, 1976 famed British astronomer and radio presenter Patrick Moore announced over the BBC that a rare alignment of the planets Pluto and Jupiter would occur at exactly 9:47 a.m. during which the effects of gravity would be nullified and everyone on earth would feel weightless for a brief moment.  I am sure every person that heard the broadcast thought that they were going to be semi-flaying objects for some minutes! On the Internet, cons are normally of a basic-standard custom, people in fact are a lot of times likely to keep their personal account as sheltered as possible, that April Fools’ Day is barely distinguishable from any other, but this one really does stand out: in 1996-vintage announcement to the effect that every computer connected to the World Wide Web must be turned off and disconnected for Internet Cleaning Day, a 24-hour period during which useless “flotsam and jetsam” are flushed from the system. How hilarious??? Why would actual “driftwood, rubbish and trash” run through computers? The funnier thing is that the message was well delivered; thousands of people believed it and turned off their devices! A complete prank, of course, one of the most famous in history.

Even if we surely do enjoy this special occasion, sadly enough the origins of April Fools’ Day are obscure. The most commonly cited theory holds that it dates from about 1582, when Pope Gregory XIII ordered a new calendar (the Gregorian Calendar),  which shifted the observance of New Year’s Day from the end of March (around the time of the vernal equinox) to the 1st of January. According to a popular explanation, many people either refused to accept the new date, or did not learn about it, and continued to celebrate New Year’s Day on April 1. Other people began to make fun of these traditionalists, sending them on “fool’s errands” or trying to trick them into believing something false. Eventually, the practice spread throughout Europe. It is also believed that there are at least two difficulties with this explanation: the first is that it doesn’t fully account for the spread of April Fools’ Day to other European countries. Though the Gregorian calendar was not adopted by England until 1752, but April Fools’ Day was already well established there by that point.

More guesswork’s define that the practice of April’s fool began during the reign of Constantine, when a group of court jesters and fools told the Roman emperor that they could do a better job of running the empire. Constantine, amused, allowed a jester named Kugel to be king for one day. Kugel passed an edict calling for absurdity on that day, and the custom became an annual event. In France, this day is called:  “poissond’avril” or ‘April fish’ because a young naive fish is easily caught. A common practice was to hook a paper fish on the back of someone as a joke. This evolved over time and a custom of prank-playing continues on the first day of April.

As far as for this marvelously hilarious day origin we have only deduction works, but we have been and are still building pronounced and memorable pranks of all sizes that will mark in history the lightness of this day. Everybody knows about it but luckily for the costume to still survive, so many still fall in believing the cons prepared by friends, family, coworkers, acquaintances or some broadcasting channels. Truth is weather the tomfooleries are unkind or not, they all are at some point an amazing source of hilarity. I, myself have been greatly pranked this year but I can’t wait to see the faces of my friends when I take my revenge ten folds on next year’s April Fool’s. Happy Poisson d’Avirlevey one!

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