Casa Rosales

Casa Rosales

Friday, 1 April 2011

Birthdays and Fool's Days

Where do birthdays fall in your family? In mine, my parents and sister have their birthdays just six days apart - on 28th and 30th March (Dad and sister) and then Mum on 1st April. I'm the odd one out being a June birthday. However, in my (newer) family - three of us have our birthdays on the same day in three consecutive weeks - me on 25th June, Cesar one week later on 2nd July and Mateo another week later on 9th July. My sister's daughter and one of her brothers are born one week (and three years) apart. Even better (though not related to me) - I have a friend who has girls born on the same day but two years apart. That has to be quite unusual..?

We often forget about April Fool's Day as for us, it's Mum's birthday - no joke there - but 1st April is recognised as the Fool's Day throughout the western world. It's a day to play practical jokes or pull a hoax on others. In some countries, the jokes can last all day but where I grew up, the jokes had to be made before 12 midday or the joke was on the joker. In recent years, there have been some excellent hoaxes carried out. But the tradition goes back hundreds of years - as far as Chaucer.

And although I am not quite old enough to remember it, there was once a lovely April Fool hoax (although it was screened well after midday) delivered by the BBC in 1957. It was on a current affairs programme called Panorama - a programme that usually took itself quite seriously. It was shown quite often in following years and with each passing year, as our British palates widened and more people travelled to Europe, it seemed  increasingly unlikely that the report could ever have fooled anyone.
But at the time, it did.
The short report was about the bumper spaghetti harvest in southern Switzerland. In the late 50s, just twelve years after the end of WWII, very few people in Britain would have eaten spaghetti, and fewer still would have known where it came from or how it came about. The voiceover was provided by a well known and respected broadcaster which gave the whole thing credibility. In short, it fooled a lot of folk. I wonder whether there might still be a few people - old ones - who still think that spaghetti grows on trees.....
It's a nice little thought.

Here's a link to the original BBC report: BBC fools the nation

And more than the wool was pulled over viewers eyes in Sweden - just imagine this!

In 1962 there was only one tv channel in Sweden, and it broadcast in black and white. The station's technical expert, Kjell Stensson, appeared on the news to announce that, thanks to a new technology, viewers could convert their existing sets to display color reception. All they had to do was pull a nylon stocking over their tv screen. Stensson proceeded to demonstrate the process. Thousands of people were taken in. Regular color broadcasts only commenced in Sweden on April 1, 1970.

And I know about this one because it's one of Mateo's favourites - and it's the BBC again! (Have they nothing better to do?) It's definitely worth watching the video!

The BBC announced that camera crews filming near the Antarctic for its natural history series Miracles of Evolution had captured footage of Adélie penguins taking to the air. It even offered a video clip of these flying penguins, which became one of the most viewed videos on the internet. Presenter Terry Jones explained that, instead of huddling together to endure the Antarctic winter, these penguins took to the air and flew thousands of miles to the rainforests of South America where they "spend the winter basking in the tropical sun." A follow-up video explained how the BBC created the special effects of the flying penguins. 

Watch out for bloggers trying to catch you out too! This is a lovely one from one of my favourite bloggers in Turkey: The Tortoises of April

Enjoy whatever folly you meet on 1 April 2011.


  1. I think, sadly, that if the BBC screened that documentary today a lot of people would still believe it. And a lot of people will believe my tortoise story even though it is obviously bonkers. Happy Birthday to your Mum. K xxx

  2. It was my Grandma's birthday on 1st April too, sadly we don't get the celebrate it with her anymore but that's okay. :)

    I remember years ago when she told me of that panorama prank, at first I didn't believe they would but I thought the concept to be hilarious. haha.

    Your mum's a lovely lady. I hope she has a wonderful day and I hope you do too. RH xxx

  3. I remember the spaghetti tree very well, Annie :-) and Karen almost had me going for a second or two when I first read her post last night. It's all down to the telling. If you do it well enough you can convince a lot of people until they think twice. My father used to be very good at it when we were children....

  4. Oh, I almost forgot - April is our month for birthdays - my grandfather, mother, two out of three grandsons and me all have or had birthdays this month.


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