History of April Fools’ Day

April Fools in the UK

The observance in the UK of April 1 goes back to ancient times, though it did not appear as a common custom until the early 1700s. In Scotland the custom was known as “hunting the gowk,” i.e., the cuckoo and April fools were “April gowks.”

April Fools in France

April Fools in the U.S.

In the US individuals and employees would concoct elaborate hoaxes and practical jokes on April Fools’ Day. At the old Sun Microsystems in Silicon Valley, for example, the size and complexity of these hoaxes were legendary in the 1980s and ’90s, with local television and radio media showing up to capture the event.

Writer and technologist. Author of fascinating articles about history, tech trends, and pop culture. billpetro.com @billpetro

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