April Fools' Day 2013: Origin of the Centuries-Long Tradition
April Fools' Day, also known as All Fools' Day, has people playing pranks and creating hoaxes all in the name of fun on 1 April every year.
Search giant Google is known for coming up with outrageous ideas to fool its users on April Fool's day. The recent years has seen Google showing off the Gmail Paper, which it claims will archive emails on paper, and offering jobs for a research centre on the moon.
Almost a decade ago, a leading national daily carried a story of sandalwood smuggler Veerappan, who had a price of ₹50 million on his head, long before he was shot death by the Indian armed forces. It also showed a morphed photo of police personnel escorting the sandalwood smuggler. This was just an April Fool's prank.
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The origin of the day is not certain, but the earliest recorded account dates back to 1392 when father of English literature Geoffrey Chaucer mentioned it in his book "Canterbury Tales".
Many writers think that Pope Gregory XIII was responsible for the creation of the day. In 1582, he ordered that the Julian Calendar be replaced by Gregorian Calendar and called people to celebrate New Year's Day on 1 January. Ancient cultures like those of the Hindus and the Romans celebrated New Year's Day on or around 1 April.
Over the years, many people began to celebrate New Year's Day on 1 April and poked fun at others who were unwilling to go by the new calendar. These whimsies gave way to elaborate pranks and practical jokes. The practice eventually spread across Europe and then to the rest of the world.
HAPPY APRIL FOOLS' DAY
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