April 1, 2016

April Fool's Day 101: An explanation of this hoax of a holiday

The following blog post is brought to you by Weatherhead's Office of Student Experience, which is here to assist students with finding opportunities for experiences outside of the classroom that will complement the holistic learning environment of Weatherhead. Learn more.

Warm weather and longer days making you feel good? Is there something possessing you to frolic, joke around with your friends, or smile at strangers? You aren’t the only one. We are entering the Spring equinox, a time, it seems, that brings about mirth in many cultures. Maybe it is the euphoria of finally getting much needed vitamin D from the sun, or maybe it is eager anticipation of long, lazy days of summer, but across the globe people celebrate with good-natured pranks and jokes. The following are just a few examples. For those of you who are enjoying your first April Fool's Day in the United States, I hope this helps put this holiday into perspective! Let’s start in the United States. Your friends might text you asking how you felt about a big exam--one you never recall hearing about. Your heart rate goes up, you scramble through your notes and class syllabus, and right when you are near tears, they send “April Fools!” Or your roommate calls to tell you that they are very sorry, but the landlord said you can’t return home because of the raccoon infestation in your room. You start thinking about your bedsheets ruined by rodents, your favorite clothes torn apart by their little claws. April Fools! The basic structure of an American April Fools is to make the victim sincerely feel that something absurd, and often disastrous, has happened. Even mass media gets in on the gag. Check out Hoaxes.org/aprilfools for some great April Fools pranks throughout history. While predominantly an American and British holiday, other countries have joined in on the fun. To stay close to home, I’ll only mention the Taco Liberty Bell prank of 1996. Taco Bell took out a full page ad in six national newspapers stating they had purchased the Liberty Bell and would be rebranding it the Taco Liberty Bell. Hundreds of people called the National Historic Park in Philadelphia to express their outrage. Eventually, Taco Bell confessed to the practical joke and the nation enjoyed a good laugh. 

This year, your own Weatherhead School of Management marketing team is spreading April Fool's Day cheer... check out some of our hoax news stories for April 1. In France, April Fools is celebrated a little more stylistically (you wouldn’t expect less from France, right?). Instead of a hodgepodge of nerve-racking practical jokes, the French make a game of attempting to attach a fish to the backs of unknowing targets. While similar in jovial spirit, the Indian tradition of Holi has a much less sinister bent than April Fools. The Holi celebration includes colored powers being tossed around and jokes being played. The goal is not so much to make a fool out of your friends and family, but to celebrate, joyfully, the sharing of love and the start of Spring. China has recently started to embrace April Fool's Day in some areas. It seems to be more popular with young people, starting in the mid 1990’s. Although older generations are not as keen to pick up on the tradition, those young folks are getting into the workforce and bringing some pranks along with them. In 2013, national news outlets in China ran a fake story that Virgin Airlines was set to launch their first glass bottomed airplane. One would presume this generated with some of those classroom pranksters from a few decades ago. So, go on out there and enjoy the day, whether it is a harmless joke or an elaborate hoax, have fun and spread the good vibes of Spring time! 

No comments:

Post a Comment