Today is April Fools’ Day, a day where in many countries around the world friends and colleagues play practical jokes on each other.
The origins of April Fools’ Day are unclear but one theory is that when the calendar was moved so that the year began on January 1, instead of late March just after vernal equinox, those who continued to celebrate New Year’s in March were ridiculed.
Apparently in some countries it is bad luck to make April Fools’ jokes after midday, in which event the joker will be labeled the fool.
In Iceland there is a tradition of sending people on errands, such as to a fake cut-price sale. Often the media takes part too with false news stories.
I’m breaking tradition by giving our international readers a heads-up.
Every year people fall for the pranks played out by the media.
In 2007, public broadcaster RÚV announced an auction of valuable paintings, furniture and costumes to raise money for the station.
Collectors and people hoping to make a bargain were taken by surprise when they were informed on arrival that the announcement was a prank.
In 2009, Iceland Review Online reported that Iceland had bought car manufacturer Hummer and that Davíð Oddsson, the former governor of the Central Bank, was appointed CEO.
What a joke that would have been! IR received some questions about the veracity of the reports.
According to reports at the time, the company was controversially seeking approval for the use of military aircraft in Icelandic airspace for training purposes so the thinking was that free flights would have gone some way towards revamping its image.
The idea reportedly outraged some of the proposal’s harshest critics.
The message: keep an eye out for today’s pranks and don’t be a fool!
Zoë Robert – zoe_robert3[at]hotmail.com