Since today is the first day of April, we have decided to prepare something special just for you. Also known as the International Day of Pranks and Pranksters, the day of April is indeed a celebration of laughter and ingenious hoaxes. In our modest article, we’re going to show you some of the famous public pranks performed around the world, and, of course, give a couple of details as to the origin of this celebration.
Did you know that the origin of this celebration of hoaxes can be traced back to Ancient Rome? On the 25th of March, the Romans celebrated the so-called Hilaria festival, which involved games, masquerades, and, more than likely, imitation contests. Historical records show that these types of celebrations often followed a period of mourning and lamentation.
During this day, by public degree, no Roman citizen was allowed to mourn or shed any tear. Geoffrey Chaucer in his Canterbury Tales and 16th-century poet Eloy d’Amerval also dropped several hints regarding the existence of a public celebration involving hoaxes.
With this long and rather boring introduction about the origin of April Fool’s day, we now invite you to read about some of the most delicious and amusing public hoaxes perpetrated over the years.
1. Aquinas College Pregnancy Hoax
On the first of April, 2014, Stephen Barrow, an economics teacher at the Aquinas College has just started his class. The teacher had a strict rule about phones going off in class – whoever received a phone call must put the person on speaker.
As fate would have it, Taylor Nefcy’s phone began to ring during Barrow’s class, and the woman had no other choice but to answer it. To her misfortune, the person on the other line was a Pregnancy Resource Center representative who informed the woman that her tests were positive. The woman blushed, and Barrow said that it would be for the best for the woman to step outside and finish her phone call.
2. Big Ben Digital April Fool’s Hoax
On the first of April, 1980, BBC announced that, in order to keep up with modern times, the Big Ben would receive a digital display. More than that, BBC said that the clock hands of London’s most iconic landmark would be donated to the first four people who hop on the phone. Needless to say, BBC got a lot of calls that day, including from a Japanese sailor in the Atlantic who said he wanted one the clock’s hands.
Probably the most amusing part is the fact that, shortly after making the announcing, the radio station received tons of calls from scandalized citizens who demanded that the clock be left alone.
3. Virgin Cola’s Take on Competition
In 1996, on April Fool’s Day, Virgin Cola placed an ad in a British newspaper saying that thanks to a new type of technology, all the Virgin Cola cans which passed their date of expiration will turn blue. The ad concluded that people should avoid consuming beverage from any can that is blue. By pure coincidence, the very same day, Pepsi announced its new line of beverages which came in bright blue cans.
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