April Fools

Ikea is not coming to Coloane – at least as far as we know. Our short piece titled “Ikea to open doors in Coloane,” published on yesterday’s back page, was the Times’ April Fools’ hoax and proof of our adherence to this ancient “pranktice”. Other newspapers in Macau also followed the tradition, “revealing” that “the LRT [rails] will reach Coloane in a year” (Jornal Tribuna), and the headline “Gov’t mull Cotai visa to reduce visitor pressure on the peninsula” (Macau Post Daily).
April Fools’ Day – also named All Fools’ Day – is celebrated every year on the first day of April as a day when people play practical jokes and hoaxes on each other. The jokes and their victims are known as “April fools.” The press has followed the tradition by publishing a hoax on this day, before retracting it over the subsequent days. Popular since the 19th century, the day is not a national holiday in any country, but it is well known in Europe, Australia, Brazil, India, Canada and the United States.
An explanation of the origins of April Fools’ Day was provided by Joseph Boskin, a professor of history at Boston University. He explained that the practice began during the reign of Constantine “The Great,” when a group of court jesters and fools told the Roman emperor that they could do a better job of running the empire. Amused, Constantine, allowed a jester named Kugel to be king for one day. Kugel passed an edict calling for absurdity on that day, and the custom became an annual event.
This explanation was brought to the public’s attention in an Associated Press (AP) article printed by many newspapers in 1983. There was only one catch: Boskin made the whole thing up. It took a couple of weeks for the AP to realize that they had been victims of an April Fools’ joke themselves.

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