Every year on April 1 the world unites for a common cause: pranking each other. Normally pranking is an indulgence reserved for special occasions or for specific people, but on this day everything is fair game. The tradition has lived a long time before reaching the present, and its evolution over the years is noteworthy.
The now nationally celebrated occasion had humble beginnings. It all started in 1582 in France with the conversion to the Gregorian calendar. This change in calendars moved the start of the new year to January 1 where it had previously been April 1. This changed caused confusion and there were some people who mistakenly still believed that the April date was the new year. These mistaken people were affectionately dubbed fools. These fools would be tricked by their neighbors into fake new year’s calls and errands, starting a tradition that would live on through the ages. These original fool’s day pranks were just the beginning, and over time the world stepped up its prank game in colossal fashion.
Some 400 years later, after pranks on this day had carried on and on, the world reached perhaps its peak of pranking. In 1957 a news network in Britain pulled the ultimate April Fool’s Day foolery. By shooting a segment at a Swiss spaghetti harvest and attaching strands of spaghetti to tree branches in the lead up to filming, they managed to convince their viewers that it was possible to grow spaghetti on trees. When their office flooded with calls from viewers hoping to grow their own spaghetti trees they responded simply by saying “Place a sprig of spaghetti in a tin of tomato sauce and hope for the best,” according to The Huffington Post. “It’s a shame this was a hoax, spaghetti on trees would be awesome. Scientists should really get on that,” junior Justin Slud said.
British News wasn’t the only influential organization to get in on the fun, as Google more recently played the jest of a lifetime on a world that was always looking toward it for innovation. Though they were running their search engine and pioneering their new e-mailing site, they took a break to pull the prank of this century. On April 1, 2007, they introduced Gmail Paper, a service that would have the company print out a document for customers and mail the hard copy in a box to their house. The surprise unveiling raised eyebrows across the world, with some praising its outside of the box thinking and others, for good reason, questioning its usefulness. Nonetheless they had a whole webpage explaining the idea and had techies and consumers alike all believing that Google had really ventured into stationery.
All of these historic pranks lead to today. The tradition lives on within the students here and within the community. Some students take the opportunity to mess with their parents a little. “I Saran Wrapped everything in my parents’ bedroom. Everything. Even the pillows,” junior Alyssa Robinson said.
On the other end, parents of the community can take the opportunity to reciprocate years of kid-induced headaches. “My dad pulled a prank on me this year where he told me I was suspended from school. He said he had gotten a call and I actually got pretty scared,” said a junior who asked to remain anonymous.