The 1st of April is a day on which people play jokes on each other. It became popular in Britain in the 18th century but the exact origins are not really known: It may have originated in the Roman festival of Hilaria or in the Celtic celebrations of their god Lud.
Some people date the festival from Noah’s mistake when sending out a dove from the ark before the flood water had gone down- it was a fool’s errand to try and find land when the earth was still covered in water and fish.
Another explanation dates back to 1582 when Pope Gregory XIII ordered the calendar to be changed, so that the new year would begin on March 25 instead of January 1. Anyone who forgot that the date of the new year had changed would be the victim of a practical joke on April 1st- the day when the old new year festivities ended.
April 1st is also celebrated in countries like Russia, where they call it “Yumorina” (as in “humour”), Turkey where it is called “Bir Nisan” (meaning “April the first”) and in India the festival of Holi, where children play tricks such as putting salt in tea and firing water pistols at each other.
In other parts of the world, such as South and Central America, they celebrate- as we do- Innocent’s Day on the 28th December, which commemorates when King Herod killed the children.
Here you are one of the jokes played by a radio station:
Cleaning the Phone Lines!
One radio station prank took place on April Fool’s Day. They announced that the phone company would be cleaning the dirt out of the phone lines that afternoon. They do this, it seems, by blowing air into the wires in the switching station. The problem is that the dirt comes out of the earpiece and mouthpiece of the telephone and could dirty the rugs or furniture in your house.
Consequently, the phone company asks that the good citizens please get plastic bags and put them over the handsets of the telephones to protect their belongings.
Stores reported a run on plastic bags, and the phone company made the radio station retract the original claim.
(source: The Book of Days/ http://www.ahajokes.com)