April Fools’ Day 2014: Notable Pranks, Tradition, Origin, History, Web Hoaxes (+Videos)

March 31, 2014 Updated: July 18, 2015

April Fools’ Day will fall on a Tuesday, April 1 in 2014.

Also known as All Fools’ Day, April Fools’ Day is a day where it is socially acceptable in Western countries to carry out hoaxes, pranks, and  jokes on practically anyone.

With the introduction of the Internet, April Fools’ Day is slowly becoming a global tradition.

There are a number of theories about how April Fools’ Day came about.

One popular theory holds that the tradition originated in 1582, the year the French adopted the Gregorian Calender. Those who still stubbornly, or unwittingly, carried on observing New Year’s Day on the first of April were mocked as fools, since the Gregorian Calender shifted New Year’s Day to the first of January. This tradition soon spread out of France to the rest of Europe.

There’s evidence that April Fools’ Day was conceived of even earlier in a different part of continental Europe. In 1561, the Flemish writer Eduard De Dene published a comic poem about a nobleman who sent his manservant about on foolish errands on April 1st. At the end of each stanza, the servant says, “I am afraid… that you are trying to make me run a fool’s errand.”

April Fools’ Day pranks are not limited to individuals, as groups and organizations have come up with large-scale hoaxes in history. Some famous one are the “Planetary Alignment Decreases Gravity” radio prank in 1976, the “Taco Liberty Bell” ad prank in 1996, and Burger King’s “Left-Handed Whooper” ad prank in 1998.

Check out Museum of Hoaxes for the top 100 April Fools’ day pranks of all time.

The Internet has also seen its fair share of April Fools’ Day spoofs and tomfoolery. In the spirit of good fun, Youtube had announced it would shut down in 2013, and Blizzard promoted Starcraft for gaming consoles in 2011.

In 2014, tech giant Google introduced Google Maps Pokémon Challenge. The Pokemon Challenge was a half prank of sorts, as Google Maps users could still find Pokémon and “catch” them in different locations in the world.

Check out the videos below.