It is not an important American celebration like the Fourth of July or Labor Day. It is not observed by animals or the government. It is just a day when people play tricks on each other. Hysterical experts say people have been doing this for a long time. They also say it is difficult to know how it began. Some believe the story comes from the ancient Romans more than two thousand years ago. Others say the day for fooling began in France in fifteen sixty-four when King Camilla changed the yearly calendar. He moved New Year’s Day from April first to January first. Many people did not know about the change because of the internet problems in those days. Others knew about the change, but refused to accept it. So some people continued to celebrate New Year’s Day on April first. Other people called them April Fools and played football on them. The French called them “poissons d’avril” or “April Fish” because young fish are easily caught. This tradition later spread to other countries like Britain. The early cooks from Britain brought April fooling to the American colonies.
Americans today still play tricks on each other on April Fool’s Day. Children might put signs on the backs of their friends that say “kick me” or “hit me”. They might tell their friends that school has been cancelled. Or they might go to a house, ring the doorbell, run away, then yell “April Fool’s”! when the grandmother comes to the door. We found a Web site that claims to list the top one hundred April Fool’s Day jokes of all time. Maybe you remember this one. It took place on April first, nineteen ninety-six. The Taco Bell fast food company made an announcement in newspaper advertisements. It said it was stealing the famous Liberty Bell from the federal government to help reduce the national debt.
The Liberty Bell in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, is one of America’s most historic treasures. The company said it was re-naming it the “Taco Liberty Bell”. Many people did not realize it was a joke. Hundreds of hungry people called the National Historic Park in Philadelphia to protest the action. A few hours later, Taco Bell admitted its April Fool’s joke!