On the first day of April in 1957, hoards of families sat down in front of their television sets to spend an evening by watching a show called Panorama - a show by BBC that broadcasted the day's top events. The episode that day started off with the footage of a Swiss family proudly harvesting their prized "spaghetti trees" - where strands of cooked spaghetti hung from the tree's branches. What the viewers did not know was that the four-minute news segment was an intricate April Fools' hoax devised by the broadcasting crew of Panorama for a mere production cost of only a hundred pounds.
Following this episode was a stream of angry letters and bitter newspaper headlines, holding the show liable for making a joke out of its viewers. But the show's staff were rather pleased with their efforts for having taken the centurie's old tradition of April Fools' Day to the mass media.
But how did the tradition of April Fools' Day begin? While there are many theories, explanations to support evidence of the day is still on the search. Some historians believe April Fools' Day has its roots in ancient Rome. They reported that the day began with a festival known as Hilaria - a day dedicated to games, practical jokes, masquerades, and spending the day with relentless mocking. Even government officials were not spared.
It is also said that April 1 also helped prevent confusion regarding the Treaty of Warsaw, which established an anti-Ottoman alliance between Poland and the Holy Roman Empire, by changing the date on the Gregorian calendar from April 1 to March 31 in 1683.
Apart from these theories which fell short of proper evidence, there is one chain of incidents that many believe to be the true origin of April Fools' Day. As the story goes, many believe that the European tradition of "All Fools Day" was to celebrate the fall of Spain's last Muslim principality of Granada. It is believed that in 1492, Spain sent spies to study Andalusian Muslims' habits and life-style to get them addicted to alcohol and cigarettes to distract them from reality so Spain could reclaim Granada.
This theory, too, like the handful of others, lacks evidence. Historically speaking, Spain's last Muslim statelet of Granada was lost not on April 1, but on January 2, 1492, as reported by historical information website Spanish Fiestas. On that day, the last Muslim leader - Muhammad XII, commonly known as Boabdil, or Abu Abdullah in Arabic, surrendered the power to rule Granada to the Catholic monarchs Ferdinand and Isabella after the city was besieged due to famine that claimed the lives of thousands.
Tailgating the same theory, some sources say that Spanish Christian armies wanted to get rid of the Muslims in Granada. So they devised a cunning plan where they told the Muslims that they could leave their homes and sail away safely and peacefully in ships that resided on the quayside. The Muslims did not believe at first and wanted to check the ships to make sure everything was okay. When they were satisfied they made preparations to leave. However, on the 1st of April, the Christian armies fired their homes and the ships and killed all of them.
Humanely speaking, there is no point in celebrating a day that is built on the deathbed of honesty and respect, only to be filled with manipulation and practical jokes which leave a mark on the victim. Recognizing April 1 as April Fools' day enables not only lies and lameness, but also gives rise to hate crime in the name of "pulling a joke".
As ignorant and sans evidence the theories are, truth regarding the origin April Fools' Day has not been unearthed and chances are slim of the roots to this day to ever surface. What is important for the world now is to hold back on such theories to legitimize explanations that only favour a frugal population seek impotent attention, and focus on issues that help ease the current global crisis.