CRAIG BROWN: Six Amazing Facts About April Fool’s Day

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1 April Fool’s Day is an annual custom made up of jokes and hoaxes. Its origin is a matter of debate.

Some believe the etymology is derived from ‘April Foals’, a reference to the disproportionate number of horses born on or around April 1.

Others think the term originated in the 13th century, from a dish known as an April fool, consisting of fruit mixed with whipped cream. Towards the end of medieval banquets, these ‘April Fools’ were thrown in the face of those considered the most stupid people around the table.

2 Many countries celebrate different versions of the April Fool tradition.

In St. Petersburg, Russia, an April fool is elected by a secret commission appointed by the president. He or she is then thrown from the Palace Bridge into the Neva River. If they survive, they will be pulled out, given a paper crown and a penny whistle, and thrown back in.

Last year, on April 1, 2020, President Trump's youngest son, Barron, then 14 years old, surprised his father by letting him know over breakfast that Fox News had just reported a minor Martian invasion (image file)

Last year, on April 1, 2020, President Trump’s youngest son, Barron, then 14 years old, surprised his father by letting him know over breakfast that Fox News had just reported a minor Martian invasion (image file)

In St. Petersburg (pictured), Russia, an April fool is elected by a secret commission appointed by the president

In St. Petersburg (pictured), Russia, an April fool is elected by a secret commission appointed by the president

In St. Petersburg (pictured), Russia, an April fool is elected by a secret commission appointed by the president

For the past two hundred years, a memorial on Vasilyevsky Island in the Neva Delta has been a national pilgrimage site for all the deceased April fools.

3 For more than 500 years, members of the royal family have been celebrating the old custom.

In his diary, Archbishop of Canterbury Thomas Cranmer tells how, on ‘Avril Phules Day’ 1544, ‘our king plays a mare jeste to Queen Kateryn’ – Catherine Parr, the king’s sixth wife – ‘to convince her that he is mad had become hers and she would therefore undergo a quick beheading in the afternoon.

To his credit, His Majesty pulled a straight face all over, causing my good lady to be overcome with grief, begging for mercy, and vowing to liven up her conversation in the years to come.

After ten minutes of glee, His Majesty could hold back no longer and said it was just a happy joke. So my good lady collapsed to the floor, giving thanks.

“The king chuckled for the rest of the day.”

4 The Royal April Fool tradition continues to this day. But every now and then a royal joke hits the wrong note.

For example, last year a prominent member of the Royal Family invited the Duke and Duchess of Sussex (pictured) to dinner at Highgrove

For example, last year a prominent member of the Royal Family invited the Duke and Duchess of Sussex (pictured) to dinner at Highgrove

For example, last year a prominent member of the Royal Family invited the Duke and Duchess of Sussex (pictured) to dinner at Highgrove

For example, last year a prominent member of the royal family invited the Duke and Duchess of Sussex to dinner at Highgrove. Before they arrived, the unnamed royal family hid a kid pillow under the duchess’s chair.

“I was deeply upset,” Meghan confessed to Oprah Winfrey in a portion of their interview that has yet to be aired. It was a cruel and thoughtless gesture. Where was the love? Where was the compassion? ‘

Three days ago, the Sussexes announced that their Archewell Foundation would support a worldwide ban on dome pillows “for the good of all and the continued good of our planet.”

5 A rapidly growing body of scientific evidence suggests that some members of the animal kingdom are trying to cheat on each other on or around April 1.

At Whipsnade Zoo on April Fool’s Day in 2017, a keeper reported that, in an attempt to scare his fellow birds, a flamingo had dressed up as a kangaroo and started hopping around.

In 2019, game keepers in the Sumatran rainforest saw a group of orangutans walking around in coats and ties, posing as a delegation from the World Wildlife Fund. Then, at the stroke of noon, they returned to the trees and made high pitched cackling noises.

In 2020, the owner of a private aquarium in Maidstone, Kent, reported that one of his goldfish had a triangular piece of plastic stuck to its back to make it look like a shark, and that he was swimming around and a 'da-da, da-da, dadadadada 'noise, recognizable as the theme song of Jaws

In 2020, the owner of a private aquarium in Maidstone, Kent, reported that one of his goldfish had a triangular piece of plastic stuck to its back to make it look like a shark, and that he was swimming around and a 'da-da, da-da, dadadadada 'noise, recognizable as the theme song of Jaws

In 2020, the owner of a private aquarium in Maidstone, Kent, reported that one of his goldfish had a triangular piece of plastic stuck to its back to make it look like a shark, and that he was swimming around and a ‘da-da, da-da, dadadadada ‘noise, recognizable as the theme song of Jaws

In 2020, the owner of a private aquarium in Maidstone, Kent, reported that one of his goldfish had a triangular piece of plastic stuck to its back to make it look like a shark, and that he was swimming around and a ‘da-da, da-da, dadadadada ‘noise, recognizable as the theme song of Jaws.

The joke had proved so successful that an angelfish and a guppy had both tried to jump out of the tank in search of a safe place.

6 Last year, on April 1, 2020, President Trump’s youngest son, Barron, then 14 years old, surprised his father by informing him over breakfast that Fox News had just reported a minor invasion of Martians.

The president’s immediate response was to convene an emergency meeting of his National Security Council. He also tweeted: ‘Iminent [sic] Martian invasion and dull Democrats doing nothing to stop them !!! Let’s BUILD THAT WALL !!! ‘

At noon, Melania Trump took her husband aside and revealed it was an April fool. Barron Trump has not been seen in public since.