April Fools’ Day

Every year, April Fools’ Day is celebrated in many countries.  On this day, people play pranks on their friends and family.  Newspapers and magazines also print fake articles and try to fool their readers.  Companies often make special announcements on April Fools’ Day as a prank on their customers.

There have been many famous April Fools’ Day hoaxes.  In 1989, for example, many drivers noticed a UFO floating above a field near London.  Many of the drivers phoned the police and reported that aliens were visiting Earth.  The police came to investigate the UFO as it landed in the field.  As one police officer walked toward the UFO, a small door opened and a man walked out.  The man was not an alien but instead it was Richard Branson, the chairman of Virgin Records, a big company.  The UFO was actually a hot air balloon.  It was painted to resemble a UFO.

On April 1st, 1975, “This Day Tonight”, an Australian television news program reported that the country would change how it counted time.  Instead of 60 minutes in one hour, the Australian government would make 100 minutes in one hour.  There were other changes too.  One day would only be 20 hours long and there would be 100 seconds in one minute.  Many people believed the hoax and got angry.  They phoned the television station to complain.

In 1997, there was a famous prank about the Internet.  According to a famous e-mail, it was going to be cleaned from March 31st to April 2nd.  The e-mail said that powerful Japanese computers would clean out old e-mail and websites.  Everyone was warned not to use the Internet during the cleaning time.  Although most people understood that the e-mail was simply an April Fools’ joke, there were many people who believed it and disconnected their computers during that day.