Fooling around on April 1

April 1 is coming to bring chaos to the order that people experience on the other three hundred and sixty-four days in the year

Melissa Wong

Beth Smith is a third-year Memorial University of Newfoundland and Labrador (MUN) and marketer for Red Bull. Her fun marketing strategy is to set up an "Actual Help Desk" that will give students the energy they need for finals.
Beth Smith is a third-year Memorial University student and a marketer for Red Bull. Her funny marketing strategy is to set up an “Actual Help Desk” that will give students the energy they need for finals. Melissa Wong/Kicker

Ryan Adams says he sees a lot of Facebook posts from girls falsely claiming they are pregnant on April 1.

Adams is a Memorial of University student who has been an observer, victim, and prankster when it comes to April Fool’s Day.

Adams remembers fondly how, years ago on April Fool’s Day, his whole class tied their teacher to a chair.

“(Our teacher) loved it,” Adams said. “We were kind of a close class so we could do it… (we) couldn’t do it to a random teacher.”

Children are often infamous for pranking their teacher on April Fool’s Day. Yet, teachers play pranks and have fun too.

Beth Smith, a Memorial student, remembers how her Grade 9 teacher played a prank on her class. The teacher gave the class Oreo cookies for an experiment. He promised the class they could eat them after their work was done.

According to Smith, when the students went to eat the cookies, they were filled with toothpaste.

“I was genuinely fooled… and I wasn’t happy about the toothpaste,” Smith said.

Why act like fools?

Not many people know why this day allows jokers to run wild.

According to Dr. Daniel Peretti, an assistant professor at MUN in the folklore department, no one knows why people celebrate April Fool’s Day.

“No one wrote it down,” Peretti said.

According to Peretti, the event might have been inspired by the feast of fools celebrated by the church in Europe- an old celebration portrayed by Disney’s 1996 animated movie The Hunchback of Notre Dame.

The feast of fools turned the hierarchy upside down. On that day, fools became kings and kings became fools for a day. Quasimodo was crowned the king of fools by the crowd in the movie because the social order was reversed,

Peretti said Rome had a festival to celebrate the god of time, Saturn, called Saturnalia. Interestingly, Saturn was overthrown by his son.

Many cultures have a similar day of foolishness, but Peretti said no one really knows why.

Age of the internet

In the age of the internet, April Fool’s day jokes are often related to mass culture. The jokes can reach larger audiences online.

Peretti said that there was a prank about Warner Brother’s charging copyright cost for tattooed images of their superheroes. The joke was only funny because the prankster and victim both knew about superhero movies, copyright and culture.

According to Peretti, if the prankster’s post on the internet is believed by an unwitting victim, then an unwritten rule is that others cannot reveal the truth.

Observers usually will hint at the truth by posting, “Do you know what day it is?”

Peretti’s theory is that it is the right of the prankster, to say “April Fool’s, in triumph.”

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