April Fool's Day

April Fool's Day
   The first mention of this custom is a curt note in Aubrey: 'Fooles holy day. We observe it on ye first of April. And so it is kept in Germany everywhere.' (Aubrey, 1686, 1880: 10). It must have reached England from Germany or France in the mid-17th century, and quickly became very popular under the name All Fools' Day; 18th-century writers call it 'universal'. At this period it was an adult amusement; people tried to trick one another into going on ridiculous errands, seeking nonexistent objects such as pigeon's milk or a biography of Eve's mother, and so on.
   Individual hoaxing of this kind grew rare among adults in the 19th century, but in recent decades impersonal media hoaxes have become popular; every year, press and television produce a crop of plausible, poker-faced absurdities ingeniously disguised as news items. On 1 April 1970 BBC radio broadcast a tribute to a non-existent scholar and philanthropist, in which various celebrities took part. The Times, abandoning its rule that hoaxes should be ignored, did report this one; readers were amused, not angry. The idea was increasingly imitated, for example by the Guardian's 1977 account of the delightful but imaginary island of Sans Serif.
   Children's tricks can be directed either against adults or against one another. Some are novel, as when some Bradford sixth-formers in 1970 advertised their school as being for sale, but most are traditional in form; they give false warnings and disconcerting news, and mock those who believe them, play simple practical jokes, send people on futile errands (Opie and Opie, 1959: 243-7). As with other children's customs, there is a time limit; anyone attempting a trick after midday is taunted:
   April Fool is gone and past, You're the biggest fool at last.

A Dictionary of English folklore. . 2014.

Игры ⚽ Поможем решить контрольную работу

Look at other dictionaries:

  • April Fool's Day — April Fools Day or April Fool s Day, April 1, a day observed by fooling people with tricks and jokes; All Fools Day. * * * ↑April Fools Day * * * April Fool’s Day [April Fools Day] (also April Fools’ Day …   Useful english dictionary

  • April Fool's Day — ► NOUN ▪ 1 April, traditionally an occasion for playing tricks …   English terms dictionary

  • April Fool's Day — N UNCOUNT April Fool s Day is the 1st of April, the day on which people traditionally play tricks on each other …   English dictionary

  • April Fool's Day Blizzard — snowfall accumulation map. Storm type: Nor easter Formed: March 30, 1997 Dissipated …   Wikipedia

  • April Fool's Day (disambiguation) — April Fools Day is a day celebrated on April 1, on which practical jokes are played.April Fool s Day may also refer to:* April Fool s Day (novel), by Bryce Courtnay * April Fool s Day (film), a 1986 horror film directed by Fred Walton ** April… …   Wikipedia

  • April Fool's Day (2008 film) — Infobox Film name = April Fools Day caption = director = The Butcher Brothers producer = Tara L. Craig Frank Mancuso Jr. writer = The Butcher Brothers Mikey Wigart starring = Scout Taylor Compton Josh Henderson Jennifer Siebel Taylor Cole Joe… …   Wikipedia

  • April Fool's Day (film) — Infobox Film name = April Fool s Day caption = Film poster for April Fool s Day director = Fred Walton writer = Danilo Bach starring = Deborah Foreman Deborah Goodrich producer = Frank Mancuso Jr music = Charles Bernstein cinematography = Charles …   Wikipedia

  • April Fool's Day (novel) — infobox Book | name = April Fool s Day title orig = translator = image caption = author = Bryce Courtenay cover artist = country = Australia language = English series = genre = Novel publisher = release date = 1993 media type = Print (Hardback… …   Wikipedia

  • April Fool’s Day — (also April Fools’ Day) 1 April, the day when people in many countries play tricks or jokes on each other. The victim of the joke is called the April Fool. A typical trick is to make somebody believe something that is not true, e.g. that the… …   Universalium

  • April Fool's Day — n. day on the first of April when friends and family play jokes on one another; April 1st marked typically by playing practical jokes …   English contemporary dictionary

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”