April Fool’s Day – April April din dumma sill…..

Apr 1, 2021 by

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And then spring came… Along with London and England bathing in sunny weather, the first official month of spring arrives today. Welcome April, you are wanted! And do you guys know what is happening on the first day of this month….?


Go have a look at our list of parks to visit in London. It is the perfect lockdown-spring-sun-activity! Photo: Unsplash 


Now to the history of April fools…

April April din dumma sill! (April April you stupid herring). The absolute first (known) story where April first gets mentioned togheter with fooling, is in a tale from 1392.  It is called Nun’s Priest’s Tale, takes place on March 32th, and is written by a man called Geoffrey Chaucer. In the tale, a rooster gets fooled by a fox – but contemporary researchers mean that there is nothing in the story that determines that the author referred to April 1st.


In 1508 a french poet wrote a poem called Poisson d’avril, which is french for ”Aprilfisk”, which is the very first safe source that we know of,  that truly wrote about the phenomenon. Back then, the French celebrated New Year’s Eve at the end of March, with the big final on April 1st. People think that the joke of that time was about making fun of people not celebrating on January 1st.


As you can see, there are different stories about where April fools day comes from. In Sweden, they first started to make jokes on a marked day in the middle of the 1600s. The Swedes fooled each other to run on stupid errands, which came on a handwritten note.


When it comes to England, people have been fooling each other at least since 1670. The author John Aubrey wrote about Fooles Holy Day in 1668, which seems to be the UK’s oldest source to the practical joke day. In 1857, The Tower of London got many of the British habitants fooled, as they announced a formal ceremony where the lions on the building should be washed. A lot of people went there to watch it, but it never happened.



“The washing of the lions” Photo: Wikipedia 



Other fun jokes that went big:

The Evening Standard, 1846: The paper announced that habitants could go to a certain address to have a look at some donkeys. Many people got fooled and went there to look until they realised that the only donkeys in the place were themselves…


Svenska Dagbladet, 1911: As the Olympics were to be in Stockholm in 1912, the paper announced that a very powerful Indian man had lent out 60 of his elephants for the opening. The elephants were to transport an orchestra that should be playing all of the involved countries’ national anthems.


BBC, 1957: The media posted a report about a farm that was growing spaghetti on trees. The people in the element were very worried though since the harvest was threatened by big pasta factories in Italy. The joke went so far that people actually reached out to BBC to hear about where they could find the amazing pasta seeds for themselves to grow.


Copenhagen, 2001: Regarding the capital’s new subway, a photo was published in which it looks like one of the trains has had a horrible accident. In reality, it looked like the train has popped out and crashed through the surface, in front of the town hall. What it really was, was a retired subway car from Stockholm. Many people went with the joke, but what actually caught it was the Swedish marketing on the window, Gevalia, which is a Swedish coffee brand.


Copenhagen 2001 Photo: Wikipedia 


April sayings in different countries: 


English: April fool! (svenska: ”Aprilnatt!”)
Swedish – April april, din dumma sill, jag kan lura dig vart jag vill eller April, april din dumma sill, jag kan lura vem jag vill.
Aprilsnar! (svenska: “Aprilnarr!”)
FrenchPoisson d’avril (svenska: “aprilfisk”)
FinnishAprillia, aprillia, syö silliä, juo kuravettä päälle (svenska: “April april, ät sill och drick lervatten till”)
DutchEén april, kikker in je bil! (die er nooit meer uit wil) (Svenska: “Den första april, groda i din rumpa! (som aldrig vill ut igen)”)
NorwegianAprilsnarr! (svenska: “Aprilnarr!”) 
GermanApril, April, der macht was er will! (Svenska: “April, april, gör han vad han vill!”)