April Fools’ Day – El día de los Santos Inocentes del mundo occidental
While you’re probably on alert for any strange incidents on December 28th (a.k.a. El dia de los santos inocentes) did you know that in many countries, including France, India, Germany, and the U.K., the 1st of April is the day set aside for playing your best jokes on family, friends, or in the case of the media, as many people as possible? In the U.K. this day is known as April Fools’ Day or All Fools’ Day, when you can become the ‘fool‘ of the joke.
In the U.K. people use the day to get away with playing practical jokes, or pranks, on their friends, family members, or co-workers. Some inspiration for these are:
- To set someone’s alarm clock to go off an hour earlier than normal.
- To get your hands on a friend’s mobile and change the language settings.
- To cover the bowl of the toilet with clingfilm.
- To set a colleague’s screen saver on their work computer to something outrageous.
Likewise, the British media has a history of joining in on the fun by printing or broadcasting fake news stories ‘hoaxes’. Three famous examples of these are…
- In 1957 BBC news programme ‘Panorama’ featured a story of spaghetti trees with footage of women pulling spaghetti off the trees where it had apparently grown. This led many excited viewers, to whom spaghetti at that time was still seen as quite an exotic food, to call and ask how they could plant a spaghetti tree themselves.
- In 1976 on BBC Radio 2 an amateur astronomer was interviewed and told listeners that there would be an unusual astronomical event taking place that morning which would result in the Earth’s gravity being temporarily reduced. Listeners were encouraged to jump in the air so they could experience the feeling of floating (to which many listeners tried and claimed it had worked!!)
- On the UK version of Goal.com in 2016, and just before the upcoming El Clasico, it was reported that Lionel Messi had signed a €500 million transfer from Barca to Real Madrid as he was upset his wages weren’t being increased.
So if this has inspired you to try your hand at your own April Fools’ joke and you want to pull someone’s leg there are just two last things you need to know. Firstly, once you get your victim you reveal the joke by shouting ‘Aril Fools’ at them and making them the fool. But secondly, all jokes must be played out before midday otherwise the April fool is the person playing it.
(noun) a fool: a silly or stupid person
(verb) to fool: to trick or to deceive someone
(phrasal verb) to get away with: to succeed in doing something (and to not get punished for it)
(noun) a prank: a practical joke
(verb) to prank: to play a practical joke on someone
(idiom) to get your hands on: to manage to obtain something
(noun) a hoax: a humorous or evil deception
(idiom) to try your hand at: do an activity for the first time to see if you like it or if you are good at it
(idiom) to pull someone’s leg: to trick someone