Whether you happen to be a prankster yourself or not, surely you are familiar with April 1st (better known as April Fools' Day). It's such a fascinating celebration, but how and when did it originate? Read on to learn the answer to this and even more regarding the annual day for pranksters and jokesters!

  • The earliest recorded reference to April Fools’ Day was in Geoffrey Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales in 1392.
  • Although historians believe April Fools’ began in France, no one is entirely certain. One belief is that it began with a calendar change in the 16th century, when Pope Gregory XIII adopted the Gregorian calendar, and New Year’s Day was moved from April 1 to January 1.
  • The French call April 1 Poisson d’Avril, or “April Fish.” French children sometimes tape a picture of a fish on the back of their schoolmates, crying “Poisson d’Avril” when the prank is discovered.
  • In Scotland, April Fools' lasts two days. Victims of pranks are called gowks (cuckoo birds). The second day is known as Taily Day, and pranks involving the backside are played. Supposedly, it is the origin of "kick me" signs.
  • In England, depending on where you live, instead of being called “fool” on April Fools’ Day, you could be called a “noodle,” “noddy,” “gobby” or “gob.”
  • April Fools' Day is observed throughout the Western world. Practices include sending someone on a "fool's errand," looking for things that don't exist; playing pranks; and trying to get people to believe ridiculous things.
  • Even Mark Twain had something to say about April Fools’ Day: “This is the day upon which we are reminded of what we are on the other three hundred and sixty-four.” (Pudd’nhead Wilson, 1894)
  • According to a 2010 national study, 68% of advertising and marketing executives consider April Fools’ pranks unsuitable; only 3% found pranks “very appropriate.”
  • It seems like the Internet has made it so much easier to organize an April Fools' Day prank on a large scale. Google, YouTube and Hulu have organized hilarious and nearly believable April Fools' Day pranks in the past. Plus, any company or individual with a Twitter account can now send out a practical joke in 140 characters or less, which they do in droves.