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Fools' day Fools' day
by The Ovi Team
2018-04-01 11:04:24
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The BBC creates a hoax Panorama programme about spaghetti crops in Switzerland and showing women carefully plucking strands of spaghetti from a tree and laying them in the sun to dry. It should be remembered in context that Spaghetti was not a widely-eaten food in the UK in 1957 and considered by many as an exotic delicacy.

April 1st 1957; BBC fools the nation. The BBC has received a mixed reaction to a spoof documentary broadcast this evening about spaghetti crops in Switzerland. The hoax Panorama programme, narrated by distinguished broadcaster Richard Dimbleby, featured a family from Ticino in Switzerland carrying out their annual spaghetti harvest.

fools01It showed women carefully plucking strands of spaghetti from a tree and laying them in the sun to dry. But some viewers failed to see the funny side of the broadcast and criticised the BBC for airing the item on what is supposed to be a serious factual programme.  Others, however, were so intrigued they wanted to find out where they could purchase their very own spaghetti bush.

Spaghetti is not a widely-eaten food in the UK and is considered by many as an exotic delicacy. Mr Dimbleby explained how each year the end of March is a very anxious time for Spaghetti harvesters all over Europe as severe frost can impair the flavour of the spaghetti.

He also explained how each strand of spaghetti always grows to the same length thanks to years of hard work by generations of growers. This is believed to be one of the first times the medium of television has been used to stage an April Fools Day hoax.

April Fools' Day or All Fools' Day is a day celebrated in many countries on April 1. The day is marked by the commission of hoaxes and other practical jokes of varying sophistication on friends, family members, enemies, and neighbours, or sending them on a fool's errand, the aim of which is to embarrass the gullible. Traditionally, in some countries, such as the UK, Australia and South Africa the jokes only last until noon, and someone who plays a trick after noon is called an "April Fool". Elsewhere, such as in Canada, France, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Russia, The Netherlands, Brazil, and the U.S., the jokes last all day. The earliest recorded association between April 1 and foolishness can be found in Chaucer's Canterbury Tales (1392). Many writers suggest that the restoration of January 1 as New Year's Day the 16th century was responsible for the creation of the holiday, but this theory does not explain earlier references.

In Chaucer's Canterbury Tales (1392), the "Nun's Priest's Tale" is set Syn March began thirty days and two. Chaucer probably meant 32 days after March, i.e. May 2, the anniversary of the engagement of King Richard II of England to Anne of Bohemia, which took place in 1381. However, readers apparently misunderstood this line to mean "March 32," i.e April 1. In Chaucer's tale, the vain cock Chauntecler is tricked by a fox.

In 1508, a French poet referred to a poisson d’avril (April fool, literally "April fish"), a possible reference to the holiday. In 1539, Flemish poet Eduard de Dene wrote of a nobleman who sent his servants on foolish errands on April 1. In 1686, John Aubrey referred to the holiday as "Fooles holy day", the first British reference. On April 1, 1698, several people were tricked into going to the Tower of London to "see the Lions washed." The name "April Fools" echoes that of the Feast of Fools, a medieval holiday held on December 28.
 
In the middle Ages, New Year's Day was celebrated on March 25 in most European towns. In some areas of France, New Year's was a week-long holiday ending on April 1. So it is possible that April Fools originated because those who celebrated on January 1 made fun of those who celebrated on other dates. The use of January 1 as New Year's Day was common in France by the mid-sixteenth century, and this date was adopted officially in 1564 by the Edict of Roussillon.

In the eighteenth century the festival was often posited as going back to the time of Noah. According to an English newspaper article published in 1789, the day had its origin when Noah sent his dove off too early, before the waters had receded; he did this on the first day of the Hebrew month that corresponds with April.


   
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