The time of pranks and hijinks is upon us once again. Every year on April 1, people all over the world compete to play the worst (or best, depending on whether or not you’re on the receiving end) tricks on each other, whether that’s something as simple as a whoopee cushion on a chair or the extreme of a fake proposal.
While the exact origins of the day are unknown, it’s thought to have been celebrated in the UK since at least the 19th century.
Back then, pranks were mostly played on children but, nowadays, anyone is fair game.
This year, Twitter users with verified badges will lose their checkmarks on April 1, unless they pay for Elon Musk’s Twitter Blue subscription service.
Here’s everything you need to know about what is (supposedly) the funniest day of the year, April Fools’ Day.
April Fools' Day origins
There are various theories about where the day actually came from, but the most likely seems to trace all the way back to the late 16th century, when Pope Gregory XIII decided it would be a good idea to adopt the Gregorian calendar (no prizes for guessing why).
Where the year had previously started at the end of March, under the new calendar rules, it was moved to January 1.
Even though the news was spread, some people clearly didn’t get the message in time and continued to celebrate the New Year on April 1. Because of this, they were ridiculed and branded as ‘fools’; thus the tradition of April Fools’ Day began.
April Fools’ Day around the world
In France, children prank their friends by taping a paper fish to their backs.
In Scotland, April Fools’ Day lasts two days. On the second day, known as Taily Day, pranks involving the backside are played. It’s thought to be where “kick me” signs originated.
In New York, press releases for a non-existent April Fools’ Day Parade have been released every year since 1986.
In Canada and the UK, April Fools’ Day jokes are only supposed to be played until noon.
In Poland, April Fools’ Day is so strongly observed that an anti-Turkish alliance signed on April 1 with Leopold I in 1683 had to be backdated to March 31.
Is April Fools’ Day a bank holiday?
Yes, April Fools’ Day is a national holiday and everyone gets the day off.
Fooled you! It’s business as usual, I’m afraid.
Last year’s April Fools pranks
Take a look at some funny April Fools’ Day pranks from last year--and hope you don’t get caught out when April 1 rolls around this time.
Geordie presenters Ant and Dec fooled fans by telling them: “We have joined the crypto revolution and launched Toon Coin,” and thanked “Safri Pollo” for their help — an anagram of April Fools.
Big news! 📢 We have joined the crypto revolution and launched Toon Coin ⬛️⬜️ 💰 This project has been in the works for a while having started it all the way back in the early 90s! Huge thanks to Safri Pollo for making it possible. Link for more infohttps://t.co/FhtoqFheaO pic.twitter.com/VmdqqAR2nV
— antanddec (@antanddec) April 1, 2022
Discount supermarket Aldi pretended to launch their own airline, Aldiair.
Delivery service Deliveroo joined in the fun and joked about banning people from ordering pineapple on pizza on the app.