Beware! April Fools' Day Is On Monday
For pranksters and joke lovers, there is no better day than April 1. Often called April Fools' Day, it is the one day of the year when light-hearted tricks are not only expected but also welcomed by all. Some believe the fun holiday began in 1582 when the world transitioned from the Julian calendar, which celebrated the New Year on the last week of March, to the current Gregorian calendar. Those unaware of the change, or refusing to accept the January 1 start date, were often mocked and had jokes played on them on or around the old New Year. Others speculate the holiday began as a joyful way to welcome spring.
Regardless of how it started, April Fools’ Day is now a worldwide celebration that is observed by both individuals as well as corporations, which often devise elaborate hoaxes to fool the public. Here are some of our past favorites.
BBC's Spaghetti Harvest
The British Broadcasting Company (BBC) was the first television company to stage an April 1 prank. In 1957, its popular current affairs show, Panorama, ran a special segment about how a mild winter and the elimination of the harmful spaghetti weevil had resulted in a record spaghetti harvest that year. The episode showed women happily pulling strands of pasta from trees. When excited viewers called the BBC to find out how to grow a spaghetti tree, they were instructed to "stick a dry piece of the pasta in a can of tomato sauce and keep their fingers crossed."
Virgin Australia's In-Flight Spin Class
Virgin Airlines is famous for coming up with some of the best April Fools' pranks, and 2018 was no exception. On April 1, the company's Australian subsidiary announced it had partnered with Virgin Active to offer the first-ever in-flight spin class. The video, released on social media, explained the various class choices and also promised passengers complimentary work-out gear and a delicious after-class snack. If only it had been true!
Lexus Genetic Select
On April 1, 2018, Japanese car manufacturer Lexus announced it had partnered with US genetics company 23andMe to create a customized car like none other. Clients were asked to provide a sample of their saliva to 23andMe for a genetic analysis. Based on the results, they would receive a car with special features, such as broader coffee cup holders for those with an affinity for caffeine, special window tinting for drivers with sensitive skin, and no sunroof for customers who had the hair loss gene. A built-in DNA recognition technology eliminated the need for keys, allowing owners to start their car by licking the top of the steering wheel.
Burger King's Chocolate Whopper
Fast food giant Burger King's 2018 April Fools' prank was a mouth-watering Chocolate Whopper – a chocolate cake bun with a “flame-grilled chocolate patty” in between! Customers could choose to add condiments like raspberry syrup (ketchup), white chocolate rings (onions), candied blood oranges (tomatoes), milk chocolate leaves (lettuce), and vanilla frosting (mayo). Yum!
While nobody knows what clever tricks corporations have in store for the unsuspecting public this year, they are guaranteed to be fun - as long as you don't get tricked, of course!
Happy April Fools' Day!
Resources: Time.com, Fortune.com,blueswandaily.com, livescience.com,bgr.com
Reading Comprehension (11 questions)
- Why do pranksters love April 1?
- What are the two theories about the origin of April Fools' Day?
Critical Thinking Challenge
Which of the pranks mentioned in the article do you wish could be real?...
Vocabulary in Context
"In 1957, their popular current affairs show, Panorama, ran a special segment about how a mild winter and the elimination of the harmful spaghetti weevil had resulted in a...