April Fools’ Day is one of my favorite holidays – not necessarily to participate in, but I love watching other people get pranked… HARD. Growing up as a Jehovah’s Witness I was taught that April Fools’ Day was a demonic holiday, with some abstractly pagan origins (“Pagan” meant bad). So, I never got to join in the fun of making mayonnaise filled doughnuts, or turning the clocks back a few hours; I had the “privilege” of staying home and reading the daily text (fun fun fun!). So today, I’m going to tell you about different types of pranks done on April Fools’ Day all around the world, and how I’ve noticed they differ from one another. After all, it’s coming up in a few days, maybe some of these “foreign pranks” will inspire your next best prank yet.
Pranks in Canada – Super Cute
- In 2019, McDonald’s Canada ran an ad for a new promotion “McNugget Singles”. Many responses to the ad included people vehemently wanting it to be real, and asking for a price, but many of the responses were multiple laughing faces long.
- White Spot, what I see as the Applebees of British Columbia, released a “BC Burger Protein Shake”, a combination of their “classic Bacon Cheddar Burger and Vanilla Milkshake… Power packed with 49g of protein.” Responses were a combination of excitement and disgust, but the White Spot community seemed to have a great time laughing at this prank their favorite restaurant pulled.
- One of my favorite Canadian Pranks I was able to find was one from 2018 by Swiss Chalet. They have a super secret family recipe for their special “Chalet Sauce,” and on April Fools’ Day, they announced that they were going to put a “Chalet Sauce fountains at each and every table.” From what I saw, I think people were so excited about it, that they didn’t even think about what day it was.
Pranks in China – A Little Dark
- One of the most famous April Fools’ Day pranks ever pulled in China was in 2003. A fourteen year-old student in Hong Kong reported that “Hong Kong had been declared an infected port.” This was not taken lightly by anyone, since he decided to pull this prank during a recent SARS outbreak. He was actually sentenced to a year in “social workers’ supervision,” because of the severity of the public’s reaction to his “prank” article.
- Another “prank” in 2013 was run by one of China’s biggest news outlets, CCTV. Virgin Airlines ran an ad for “glass-bottomed planes,” and CCTV ran the article as real news in China. From what I read, nobody in China thought it was a joke, and this caused such a wide reaction that Virgin Airlines took down the original prank post from their website.
- Interestingly enough, China did not used to have April Fools Day as a part of their culture, until the Europeans brought it into the Chinese culture. We can see the evolution of the famous holiday by comparing the last two pranks, to ones that are happening more recently. In 2019, an article by Gizmo China showcased a prank titled “Smartisan OS 126.96.36.199 with Virtual Bubble Wrap Pop” where a large Chinese technology company pranked everyone with a new therapeutic operating system: complete with a poppable bubble wrap lock screen.
Pranks in Ireland – Kinda Angsty
- The Irish Post told everyone in 2014 that Garth Brooks, a favorite musician in Ireland, was cancelling all of his Dublin shows, because “When we told him he couldn’t go paintballing because he’d committed to doing the Dublin shows he went absolutely ape shit.” From what I saw, this drove everyone in Ireland crazy.
- In April 2014, the Cork Institute of Technology convinced its students that they needed to purchase a license to see their University’s website in color. “Students without a suitable licence will be forced to use the website in Black & White mode.” They went as far as explaining a fake reason for the new license costs to students, saying that “It is estimated that approximately 17c per student per year can be saved by delivering content in greyscale mode.”
- In 2019, the Irish Mirror explained that Ireland’s most famous landmark, Dublin’s Spire, was permanently bent due to a combination of “very strong north-westerly winds” and “a heavier than normal light bulb placed on the top.” I was surprised to find out that this prank-article actually ranked as one of the “most-read stories on irishmirror.ie” for a while!
Pranks in Germany – Unexpected
- The first popular German prank I found was pretty innocent, actually! A famous German actor and movie producer Til Schweiger would be hosting the German news Show Tagesschau for a week. As a magazine from Germany, The Local, put it, “Tagesschau has a reputation for serious, high quality news – making mumbling action star Schweiger a strange choice.”
- Another famous German prank involved the German Minister of Justice in 2016. There was a suspected relationship between Minister, Heiko Maas and actress, Natalia Wörner at the time. So, PETA decided to use this supposed “relationship” to photograph them “bare-chested” as an advertisement for their “‘I’d rather go naked than wear fur’ campaign”.
- Another prank from 2014 was from a German citizen who explained a prank her sister pulled on her when she was younger. “She told me that I was adopted and then locked me in a room until my parents came from holidays.” Though she was laughing through the whole time she told this story, she concluded the “prank” with “…she appeared in this kinda Casper ghost costume. But because of that I couldn’t sleep until I was I think 10, on my own.”