April Fool's Day Content
April Fool's Day Content
April Fool Categories
April Fool: Recurring Pranks
April Fool: Regions
April Fool: Perpetrators
April Fool's Day Archive, Contents:
|Before 1900:||Origin of April Fool's Day | 1700-1799 | 1800-1899|
|Early 1900s:||1900 | 1901 | 1915 | 1919 | 1920 | 1923 | 1925|
|1930s & 40s:||1933 | 1934 | 1936 | 1937 | 1938 | 1940 | 1949|
|1950s & 60s:||1950 | 1957 | 1959 | 1960 | 1962 | 1965 | 1969|
|1970s:||1970 | 1971 | 1972 | 1973 | 1974 | 1975 | 1976 | 1977 | 1978 | 1979|
|1980s:||1980 | 1981 | 1982 | 1983 | 1984 | 1985 | 1986 | 1987 | 1988 | 1989|
|1990s:||1990 | 1991 | 1992 | 1993 | 1994 | 1995 | 1996 | 1997 | 1998 | 1999|
|2000s:||2000 | 2001 | 2002 | 2003 | 2004 | 2005 | 2006 | 2007 | 2008 | 2009|
|2010s:||2010 | 2011|
French April Fool's Day Hoaxes and Events
French April Fool's Day Hoaxes and Events
Concorde Flies Again (2009)The French Museum of Air and Space announced on its website that Concorde was scheduled to return to the air for a special two-hour flight in June. The supersonic plane had not flown since 2003, but the museum explained that one of two Concordes given to it had been kept flight-ready. The announcement was picked up by the French news agency AFP, which later had to retract it when the museum confirmed the news was a hoax. The museum explained that it perpetrated the hoax in order to publicize its hope that one day Concorde really would fly again.
Metro Station Name Change (1994)
The Parisian Transport Authority (RATP) renamed three Paris metro stations, but only for the 24 hours of April 1st. Parmentier station became "Pomme de Terre" (potato). Madeleine station became "Marcel Proust," and Reuilly Diderot station became "Les Religieuses." At the stations, metro employees handed out potato chips, madeleines, and religieuses (a type of eclair). Tickets were also stamped with the shape of a fish (a "poisson d'avril" or "April fish" — the French equivalent of "April fool").
Unfortunately, many passengers became confused by the name changes and chaos ensued. Therefore, the stunt was never repeated.
No Speed Limit for Germans (1992)L'Humanite, the French Communist Party newspaper, reported that because Germans had no speed limit on their own motorways, the European Commission had therefore decided to allow German drivers to drive as fast as they wanted throughout other EC countries.
Eiffel Tower Moves (1986)The Parisien, a French newspaper, reported that an agreement had been signed to take down the Eiffel Tower and move it to the new Euro Disney theme park being constructed east of Paris. The Tower was to be replaced by a 35,000-seat stadium that would be used for the 1992 Olympic Games.
Bridge Removal (1967)
The French newspaper L'Ardennais reported that two giant helicopters were going to remove the Meuse River bridge at Montey-Notre-Dame and replace it with a new one. A crowd of over 2000 people assembled to witness the event. Eventually a loudspeaker announced that the bridge-removal operation had been delayed until April 1, 1968.
The Kidnapping of Nicole Riche.) [Los Angeles Times, Apr 2, 1950.]
Flying Bus (1950)
International Soundphoto distributed a photo of a flying bus swooping over the Place de la Concorde in Paris, France. The photo ran in many papers, accompanied by the caption: "Well, Well, look how all those Parisians are being missed by the bus at Place de la Concorde. Anything can happen in the French capital on April Fool's day, they say, but it is suspected that some zany darkroom jokester had something to do with this." [Newsweek - Apr 10, 1950.]
Perate hand-wrote a reply, thanking "Madame de Mesnil-Heurteloup" for her gift, but questioning whether the relic was worthy of a place in the palace. He asked if the measure was mounted in leather and bore the Pompadour arms. He concluded by suggesting that she bring the measure to Versailles to allow him to judge its value.
Merle Blanc gleefully reproduced a facsimile of his reply, noting that the learned curator had failed to realize that Mme. Pompadour died thirty years before the metric system was invented. They suggested that they might seek space in French museums "for Napoleon's automobile, a bracelet worn by the Venus de Milo, and an eyeglass belonging to Victory of Samothrace." [The New York Times, Apr 12, 1925.]
Peace Treaty Signed (1919)The Associated Press reported that a prankster started a rumor alleging that Colonel House had announced that the peace treaty ending World War I had been signed: "The report rapidly spread over all Paris and the telephone wires to the American headquarters in the hotel de Crillon became hot with inquiries as to the truth of the rumor. It did not take long however, for inquiries to realize the character of the report when they were reminded that today was April 1st." The Treaty of Versailles, which marked the formal end of the war, was signed on June 28, 1919. [Daily Northwestern, Apr 1, 1919.]
Bombs Away! (1915)The Geneva Tribune reported that on April 1 a French aviator flying over a German camp dropped what appeared to be a huge bomb. The German soldiers immediately scattered in all directions, but no explosion followed. After some time, the soldiers crept back and gingerly approached the bomb. They discovered that it was actually a large football with a note tied to it that read, "April Fool!" [The Atlanta Constitution, Aug 2, 1915.]
This story is occasionally offered as an early example of the custom of April Foolery. However, there is no evidence the story is true.
French Calendar Reform (1563)In 1563 King Charles IX reformed the French calendar by moving the start of the year from Easter Day to January 1. His edict was passed into law by the French Parliament on Dec. 22, 1564. This aligned legal convention with what had long been the popular custom of celebrating the start of the year on January 1.
Later, in 1582, Pope Gregory issued a papal bull decreeing sweeping calendar reform, which included moving the start of the year to January 1, as well as creating a leap-year system and eliminating ten days from the month of October 1582 in order to correct the drift of the calendar. The Pope had no formal power to make governments accept this reform, but he urged Christian nations to do so. France immediately accepted the reform, since it had already instituted part of the reform (changing the start of the year) in 1564.
This sixteenth-century calendar reform is frequently cited as the origin of the custom of April Foolery. Supposedly the people who failed to realize the start of the year had been changed had pranks played on them on April 1st.
There are a number of problems with this theory. First, the start of the year was changed from Easter day, not April 1st. Second, January 1st had, since Roman times, been the traditional start of the year anyway. Easter Day had been used as the start of the year primarily for legal and administrative purposes (in an attempt by medieval rulers to christianize the calendar).
The calendar-change hypothesis is more plausible if applied to Britain, where March 25 (the date of the christian Feast of Annunciation, aka Lady Day) was New Year's Day, followed by a week of festivities culminating on April 1. However, Britain only changed the start of its calendar year to January 1 in 1752, by which time April Fool's Day was already a well-established tradition.