Informative Speech: April Fools Day
- Word count: 784
- Category: Culture
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I. Most of us know April 1st as a lighthearted day where it is acceptable to play silly jokes and try to fool your friends, but few know what April Fools Day is really about and why such an usual holiday is celebrated around the world. A. The exact origin is still a mystery, but the earliest known explanation took place in France over 400 years ago. 1. It is also unknown how this holiday spread to other countries. 2. It is interesting to see how different cultures celebrate it. B. Today I’m going to share with you the background of this crazy holiday, explain the cultural differences in the way the day is celebrated around the world, and enlighten you with some of the worlds’ best pranks that have been played on this day. II. The earliest explanation to the start of April Fools Day dates back to 1582 when Pope Gregory XIII (13th) moved the start of the new year to January 1st. Until the 16th century, the French celebrated New Year in the spring with an 8 day festival beginning on March 25 and ending on April 1st when people would exchange gifts. C. News traveled slowly back then, so some citizens didn’t get the memo that there was a new date for the New Year.
Others refused to accept the change, and continued to celebrate in the spring (Kwasney). 3. Those still celebrating, for whatever reason, were labeled “April fools.” These people were the center of practical jokes, sent on fools errands, or even invited to non-existent New Years parties. (Tate & Tanenbaum). 4. Those who were fooled were called poissons d’Avril, which means “April fish.” a. The reason behind this was because fish, such as those that hatch in April, are easy to catch and “April fish” are easy to catch with silly tricks (Kwasney). b. Children would try to discreetly tape a paper fish to the back of the victim. III. Other countries have adapted this holiday and developed it into their own culture. D. Scotland calls it “Taily Day”
5. Refer to their jokes as “april gowk” which is another name for the cuckoo bird. 6. The original “kick me” sign came from the Scottish (April Fool’s 150). E. In England, pranks only played in the morning
7. Its bad luck to play a joke on anyone after noon. 8. If a trick is played on you, you are called a “noodle” rather than a fool (April Fool’s 150). F. In Rome, it is referred to as the Festival of Hilaria, also known as Roman Laughing Day and falls on March 25th (April Fool’s 150). G. In Portugal, it falls on the Sunday and Monday before lent and the traditional trick is to throw flour at your friends (April Fool’s 150). IV. There is a rich history of great pranks across the world. H. One of the greatest world known pranks in history happened in 1957 when a British news program, BBC news, featured respected newscaster Richard Dimbleby giving a report about a spaghetti harvest in Switzerland 9. He stated that the mild winter resulted in an exceptionally heavy spaghetti crop.
10. Many viewers were so intrigued by the footage of farmers reaping noodles from trees, viewers called the station to ask where they could find their own spaghetti trees. 11. BBC news replied, “place a sprig of spaghetti in a tin of tomato sauce and hope for the best” (April Fool’s 151). I. In 1996 the Taco Bell Corporation announced that it had bought the Liberty Bell in an effort to help the national debt and renamed it the Taco Liberty Bell. 12. The fast-food chain took out a full-page ad in six major newspapers. 13. Angry citizens flooded Independence National Historic Park, in Philadelphia, to protest the alleged purchase. 14. The pranks real victims were the National Park Service employees manning the phones at the Liberty Bell because they spent their April Fools Day reassuring Americans that their national monument had not been sold off to the highest bidder (April Fool’s 151). V. This unusual holiday has been around for hundreds of years, and even though other countries have adapted the celebration in unique ways over the years, it will always be known as a fun, carefree day to trick friends and enjoy a little laughter.
“April Fool’s.” Machine Design 77.7 (2005): 150-151. Academic Search Complete. Web. 28 Jan. 2013. Kwasney, Corinne G. “April Fools!.” Appleseeds 10.7 (2008): 33. Primary Search. Web. 28 Jan. 2013. Tate, Ashley & Tanenbaum, Sharon. “April Fools’ Day 101.” Real Simple 8.4 (2007): 43. MasterFILE Premier. Web. 28 Jan. 2013.