April the first stands mark’d by custom’s rules,
A day for being, and for making fools: —
But, pray, what custom, or what rule supplies
A day for making, or for being — wise?
~ Rev. Samuel Bishop, 1796
April Fools’ Day is a yearly observance on the first of April during which pranks and silly behavior are socially sanctioned and merriment is supposed to reign. Customary practices range from simple practical jokes played on friends, family, and coworkers to elaborate media hoaxes concocted for mass consumption.
I’ve included just a few of the interesting summaries covering the uncertain history of the tradition.