A less eurocentric explanation of this non-holiday points to its origins in Sizdah Bedar, the 13th day of the Persian new year (April 1 or 2) - celebrated with japes and hi jinks as far back as 536BC. Who knows - maybe this also explains why we think of 13 as an unlucky number..?
Wherever it came from, and whether you love it or dread it, April Fools' Day isn't going away. In fact, with the increasing reach of modern social media, it's probably going to get worse as people compete online for the most attention-grabbing trick. Google's Gmail Motion is our current 2011 favourite. Do add YOUR favourite via the 'Submit Your Own Review' box on the right of this page and we'll add them to this page.
To conclude, it seems as if we'll always derive comedy from the tiny sufferings of others. Schadenfreude will never be out of fashion; after all, it probably does us all good to remember once in a while that - whether lady or tramp, beauty or beast, celebrity or binman - we're all on a level when it comes to fortune dealing us a tricksy, buzzer-laden hand.
"Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,
To the last syllable of recorded time;
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player,
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
And then is heard no more. It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
- Macbeth, Act 5, scene 5, 19–28
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