April Fool’s Day fun facts

What are some fun facts about April?

Did you know?
  • April was the second month in an early Roman calendar, but became the fourth when the ancient Romans started using January as the first month.
  • April is named for the Greek goddess of love, Aphrodite.
  • The name for the month of April originally came for Aprilis which means to open.
  • History

    Some historians believe the April Fools’ customs began in France, although no one knows for sure.

    It may stem from a calendar change in 16th century France – the moving of New Year’s Day from April 1 to January 1 when the Gregorian calendar was adopted.

  • Around the World

    In France, April 1 is called “Poisson d’Avril.”

    French children fool their friends by taping a paper fish to their friends’ backs.


    When the “young fool” discovers this trick, the prankster yells “Poisson d’Avril!”

    In Scotland, April Fools’ lasts two days. Victims of pranks are called gowks (cuckoo birds). The second day is known as Taily Day, and pranks involving the backside are played. Supposedly, it is the origin of “kick me” signs.

    In England and Canada, pranks are only played in the morning of April 1.

    Memorable Pranks

    Early 1950s – The BBC runs a “news” item about the spaghetti harvest in Switzerland.

    1985 – Sports Illustrated runs a 14-page story by George Plimpton about a Mets pitching phenom named Sidd Finch. The reclusive, skinny Finch has a 168-mph fastball (which he credits to meditations in Tibet) and a host of quirks including carrying a French horn at all times and wearing only one hiking boot while pitching.

    1986-present – Press releases for the [non-existent] New York City April Fools’ Day Parade have been issued every year since 1986.

    1996 – Taco Bell Corp. runs a full-page ad in several major newspapers claiming it has purchased the Liberty Bell and is renaming it the “Taco Liberty Bell.”

    2004 – The National Public Radio show “All Things Considered” runs a story about the post offices’ new “portable zip codes” program. Based on people being able to keep their phone number even if they moved, the program was designed to represent “a citizen’s place in the demographic, rather than geographic, landscape.”

    2008 – The BBC runs a video clip of flying penguins as part of a story for its series “Miracles of Evolution.” The presenter explains that the penguins escaped the cold, harsh Antarctic weather by flying to the tropical rainforests of South America.

    April 1, 2010 – The National Republican Senatorial Committee releases a parody web video celebrating President Barack Obama as “truly the greatest president ever” and that he has “kept all his promises.”

    April 1, 2013 – The Guardian announces the launch of its own augmented reality device, Guardian Goggles, which will “beam its journalism directly into the wearer’s visual field, enabling users to see the world through the Guardian’s eyes at all times.”

    April 1, 2016 – Google introduces “Mic Drop,” a Gmail feature that enables users to send emails with an animated gif depicting a minion dropping a microphone. The prank goes awry when people accidentally click on the button and unwittingly send business emails with the whimsical animation. The feature is removed after several hours of confusion.

    For those who aren’t into pranks, telling some puns and amusing stories is also a popular option.

    When is April Fools’ Day?

    April Fools’ Day takes place on April 1 every single year.

    Somehow, it can be really easy to forget when it’s coming up. Keep an eye out for strange happenings and weird newspaper headlines, and you won’t be made a fool of this year!

    What can you learn about April Fools’ Day here?

    Jesters and jokers looking for inspiration and information can find it here at Twinkl. In this Teaching Wiki, you’ll learn tons of fun facts about April Fools’ Day to help with research assignments and turn you into a trivia whiz.

    Julian Calendar vs. Gregorian Calendar

    Did you know that April 1 used to be the start of the new year?

    The Julian calendar was used in Great Britain (and its colonies, including those in America) until 1752, after which it switched to the Gregorian calendar – a different way of calculating the date.

    However, France started to make the switch from the Julian calendar to the Gregorian calendar much earlier, all the way back in the 16th century. This moved the date of the new year from April 1 to January 1.

    Not everyone got the memo. In fact, not everyone wanted the change. It is said that those who didn’t know about the new date or those who stubbornly followed the old calendar became the butt of many jokes on April 1.

    Why do we celebrate April Fools’ Day?

    Even if we did know the origins of April Fools’ Day once and for all, it still wouldn’t explain why it’s such a phenomenon today.

    One possible reason is that it’s entertaining. Laughter makes the world go round, and practical jokes are a good way of making sure everyone has a good time – even the prankee! Veteran teachers and wise adults might think they’ve heard every joke and seen every prank in the book, but they can still be surprised.

    (Plus, they have experience of classics children might not have encountered yet, so they can get their own back.)

    One thing is for sure: April Fools’ Day is a breath of fresh air and a good reminder not to take things so seriously!

    Iconic April Fools’ Day Hoaxes

    A New Number for Pi

    April Fools’ Day comes hot on the heels of Pi Day, an event that takes place on March 14. Few pranks have caused as much concern among mathematicians as when, in 1998, an alarming report indicated that the Alabama state legislature was changing the value of pi.

    It just had too many decimal places, so they opted to change it to a nice, round, friendly number: 3.

    Engineers, architects, and math teachers all over the country sounded the alarm (or maybe just raised an eyebrow) at the prospect of their beloved pi being changed. Some people even phoned up their local legislators!

    But in the end, it was all a big April Fools’ Day prank devised by a physicist named Mark Boslough.

    The Great Spaghetti Harvest of 1957

    This one’s a doozy. Back in 1957, there was a famous report by the BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation) on the spaghetti harvest in Switzerland that year. After an early spring, the spaghetti trees were so laden down with spaghetti that farmers were beginning to grow worried. The decline of the spaghetti weevil was also suggested as a cause for the bumper harvest.

    Wait, spaghetti trees?

    Yes, you heard that right. One of the most trustworthy news organizations in the United Kingdom managed to trick their viewers into believing that spaghetti really did grow on trees. Hundreds of people picked up their phones to ask about it. Legendary!

    April Fools’ Day Around the World


    We’ve already explored the potential origins of April Fools’ Day, which could have started in France. How do the French celebrate it today?

    In France, April Fools’ Day is known as April Fish.

    People use paper fish to play a harmless prank on their friends and family. They stick a paper fish onto the back of as many people as possible. After that, they yell the phrase “Poisson d’Avril!” which translates into “April Fish.”


    We know that the United Kingdom enjoys concocting some truly epic April Fools’ Day pranks (like the Spaghetti Harvest in 1957), but Scotland has its own historical traditions, too.

    In Scotland, April Fools’ Day used to take place over two days. One of them was known as Gowk’s Day. A “gowk” in Scots has two meanings: it can refer to a cuckoo or a fool.

    Making someone the fool on April Fools’ Day was known as “hunting the gowk.” A traditional prank involved asking someone to deliver a sealed letter with a message inside. This message encouraged the recipient to send the messenger on another fool’s errand, then another… until someone took pity on them.

    Nowadays? People send their unwitting victims on an errand to fetch things like “tartan paint” or a“long stand.” We’ll let you figure that one out yourselves.


    In Portugal, people celebrate a unique version of April Fools’ Day in the two days before Lent.

    Unfortunately for the unsuspecting fools, the Portuguese version of April Fools’ Day tends to get messy. The prank is a simple one:

    1. Acquire a sack of flour.
    2. Throw said flour on your friends when they least expect it.



    In the early 19th century, a satirical newspaper published an alarming headline proclaiming the death of the Emperor of Brazil, Don Pedro. This was a memorable April Fools’ Day prank that popularized the tradition in Brazil!

    The day is known as Dia das Mentiras (the Day of Lies) or Dia dos Bobos (the Day of Fools).

    Ideas for April Fools’ Day

    April Fools’ Day in the Classroom

    • Compare and contrast April Fools’ Day in the United States with another country of your choice. What are the similarities and differences? Would you like to take part in those traditions?
    • Practice some puns memorized from joke books or cards and recite them to your friends and classmates. This is a great way to hone your talent for comedy!
    • Prank the class next door! Your students can work together to come up with a devilish plan – with your approval, of course.

    April Fools’ Day at Home

    • Team up to play pranks on the other members of your household. Two heads are better than one when it comes to thinking up hilarious practical jokes.
    • Investigate hoaxes from the past and present. April Fools’ Day has been around for a long time, and you can find videos of some older broadcasts online. Ask an adult for good ones to research!
    • Write a truce promising no more pranks and practical jokes. You can create a contract for a ceasefire that all parties can agree to… but whether you follow it is another question.

      Fun Facts about April Fools’ Day

      1. You might not expect there to be rules for such a chaotic event, but April Fools’ Day has them! According to the rules, your pranks and jokes have a time limit. If you make them after 12pm, then you’re the fool for the rest of the year!
      2. The earliest reference associating the beginning of April with foolish behavior is thought to be in The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer. This was written in 1392 and is one of the most famous works in the English language.
      3. In 1992, one hilarious prank by Taco Bell saw the fast-food chain claim that they’d bought the Liberty Bell. Yes, that Liberty Bell. Go big or go home!
      4. Another popular name for April Fools’ Day is All Fools’ Day.
      5. Several countries around the world also call April Fools’ Day by the name “April Fish,” not just France. These include Italy, Belgium, and Quebec in Canada.

        Teaching Resources on April Fools’ Day

        Even if you’re not intending to prank anyone on April Fools’ Day, you’ll still need to be on the defensive to avoid becoming this year’s fool. Those wily students of yours might be planning something!

        Fortunately, you can keep them occupied in the classroom with some of our fantastic teaching resources. These worksheets, activities, and games are amazing for providing tons of learning opportunities, even on April Fools’ Day!

        We’ve highlighted three of our favorites below.

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