Celebrated on April 1, April Fool’s Day, also known as All Fool’s Day, is a day for tricks, pranks, and jokes. Other names include April Noddy Day, Gowkie Day, Huntigowk Day and St All-Fool’s Morn.
The day is not a public holiday in any country except Odesa in Ukraine, where the first of April is an official city holiday. The custom of setting aside a day for playing harmless pranks upon one’s neighbour has been relatively common in the world historically.
The true origins of April Fools’ Day remain unknown and are probably lost to history, but theories abound, of course.
One story goes that April Fools’ Day began with France’s 1564 Edict of Roussillon, which decreed that New Year’s Day, historically observed on Easter by Christians, was moved to January 1. Easter is a movable, lunar-based date but often falls in April, so it’s said that early adopters dubbed people celebrating the old New Year “April fools.”
In modern times, people have gone to great lengths to create elaborate April Fools’ Day hoaxes. Newspapers, radio and TV stations, and websites have participated in the April 1 tradition of reporting outrageous fictional claims that have fooled their audiences.