Reading April Fools’ Day. Read the text, make up 5 questions related to the text.
April Fools’ Day, or All Fools’ Day, is an odd holiday which encourages us to play tricks and fool our family and friends. There is some uncertainty about when and where this bizarre tradition began. Popular belief says that April Fools’ Day started in the 16th century in France but there are not enough facts to confirm it.
Anyway, according to legends and a small number of facts, the story seems to be as follows. Before the 16th century, the New Year was celebrated in spring, around April 1st. In 1564 King Charles IX of France declared that the country would start using a new calendar, which changed New Year’s Day to January 1st. In those days, with no communication technologies, news travelled slowly and new ideas were often mistrusted. Many people still celebrated the New Year the old way. These people were called ‘fools’ and became a target for jokers.
Playing jokes on April 1st became a custom and was later transported across the Atlantic to the American colonies. Nowadays, April Fools’ Day has developed into an international festival of fun.
Today in France, people who are fooled on April 1st are called Poisson d’Avril, which literally means the April Fish. Children stick paper fish to their friends’ backs. There are different fish souvenirs in the shops and chocolate fish of all shapes and sizes are sold in supermarkets. In England, if a trick is played on you, you are a noodle. Remember that in this country you should observe the time limit – tricks can be played only in the morning. People playing jokes after midday are April fools themselves.
April Fools’ jokes should not harm anyone. The best jokes are when everyone laughs, especially the people the joke was played on.
One of the great April Fools’ jokes happened on April 1st, 1957. BBC TV did a documentary on ‘spaghetti farmers’ growing ‘spaghetti trees.’ The report showed a family from Switzerland carrying out their annual spaghetti harvest. It showed women carefully pulling long thin pieces of spaghetti from a tree and laying them in the sun to dry.
The joke was an enormous success. A lot of people were fooled – the BBC began to receive hundreds of calls from puzzled viewers. “Did spaghetti really grow on trees?”, they wanted to know. Others were eager to learn how they could grow their own spaghetti tree. To this the BBC replied that they should “place a piece of spaghetti in a tin of tomato sauce and hope for the best.”
Another famous April joke was played by the Burger King Company in the USA in 1998. They ran an advertisement about launching a “twin brother” of their most famous sandwich Whopper. Along with the traditional Whopper they were going to sell a Left-Handed Whopper, which was specially designed for the company’s left-handed customers. According to the advertisement, they rotated all the ingredients 180 degrees. Amazingly, thousands of customers requested the new sandwich at their restaurants.
•When was new year celebrated before 16th century?
•When did April Fools day start?
•How were called the people who were fooled on April 1st in France?
•What documentary did BBC do for April 1st?
•What joke did Burger King Company do in the USA in 1998?