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Today is April 1, 2021

Behind the jokes of April Fools’ Day

Pranks, practical jokes and various goofs abound at the start of April, when celebrants around the world mark April Fools’ Day – a tradition that dates back several centuries.

Even though April Fools’ Day, also known as All Fools’ Day, has been celebrated for centuries, no one is completely sure of its exact origins.

According to History.com, many historians speculate that April Fool’s Day traces its origins to the transition from the Julian calendar to the Gregorian one in 1582. At this point, the start of the new year had been moved to January 1 from the last week of March. Those who were slow to get the news still celebrated the new year from late March into April and became the object of pranks as a result. One of the more notable pranks included having a paper fish placed on the backs of unsuspecting individuals and being referred to as poisson d’avril (April fish). This symbolized a young, easily fooled, or hooked fish.

During the 1700s, April Fools’ Day spread northward throughout areas of Britain. In Scotland, the tradition became a two-day event. One feature was sending people on phony errands called “hunting the gowk.” Gowk refers to the cuckoo bird, which often has been used as a symbol for fools. Tallie Day followed, which included pranks like pinning fake tails or “kick me” signs on unsuspecting people.

The earliest mass April Fools’ Day hoax on record occurred in 1698, according to Alex Boese, curator of the Museum of Hoaxes.

“People in London were told to go see the annual ceremony of the washing of the lions at the Tower of London,” said Boese. “They showed up at the Tower of London, but there was no annual lion-washing ceremony.”

Mass media later became a prime vehicle for some April tomfoolery. In 1957, the BBC told viewers there was a great spaghetti crop in Switzerland that year due to the disappearance of the spaghetti weevil, and people of Britain, who were largely unfamiliar with spaghetti at the time, believed it. Faux advertisements, broadcasts and interviews eventually crop up as well. National Public Radio did a piece on how Richard Nixon was going to run for president in the 1992 race and used the voice of a man who sounded like Nixon. People were outraged, and thousands believed it.

Many companies have gotten in on the foolishness in recent years. The popular dating app Tinder once announced they put an end to men lying about their height on the app with a “height verification feature.” And Lego purportedly introduced a “Find My Brick” app to make building more efficient. Even National Geographic got in on the fun when, in 2016, the media company announced via Twitter that it would no longer be publishing photos of naked animals, stating “the media group will no longer degrade animals by showing photos of them without clothes.” Those who clicked through were greeted with “April Fools” and photos of adorably dressed puppies and kittens.

April Fools’ Day is an opportunity to have some lighthearted fun, even if that fun comes at the expense of others

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The Meanings behind Easter Lily

Easter symbols and traditions help make the holiday familiar and special. Eggs, hot cross buns and frilly church dresses help paint the picture, and so does a delicate and beautiful white flower.

The Easter lily plant is native to both Taiwan and the Ryukyu Islands of Japan. The plant’s flowering season begins in April and ends in June. The plant produces pure white flowers on top of long stems. Easter lilies often adorn homes and church altars during this time of year.

Tradition states that the Easter lily originated in the Garden of Eden from the teardrops of Eve that spread when she and Adam were cast out of the garden. These were believed to be tears of repentance.

Historians and biblical scholars say that the lily has always been highly regarded in the Christian Church. Jesus even references the flower in Luke 12:27, stating “Consider the lilies how they grow: they toil not, they spin not; and yet I say unto you, that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.” Legend has it that, after Jesus’ death and resurrection, lilies were found growing in the Garden of Gethsemane, where Jesus is said to have prayed before his crucifixion. They were believed to have sprung up from a drop of sweat from his brow when his head was bent in prayer.

In Easter celebrations, the lily represents Christ’s Resurrection, and thusly new birth and new life. The delicate, white blooms can be viewed as pure, innocent and untainted by the world.

The flower itself is used in various ways to tell the resurrection story. The bulb is buried in the ground as a representation of Christ’s tomb. The trumpet-shaped fragrant flowers also announce life after death, since bulbed flowers often regrow year after year, according to the religious resource All About Jesus. And the trumpet shape signifies the angel Gabriel’s trumpet call.

It’s common for Easter lilies to decorate homes, churches, gardens, and more throughout the Easter season.

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Sour Dough Bread Day

Ingredients

Small Loaf (1 lb. bread machine)

½ cup, plus 1 Tbsp warm tap water

¾ cup Sourdough Starter (see link in instructions for starter recipe)

2¼ cups bread flour

1½ tsp salt

2 tsp sugar

1½ tsp RED STAR Active Dry Yeast

Medium Loaf (1½ lb. bread machine)

¾ cup, plus 1 Tbsp warm tap water

1 cup Sourdough Starter (see link in instructions for starter recipe)

3 cups bread flour

2 tsp salt

1 Tbsp sugar

1 package (2¼ tsp, ¼oz, 7g) RED STAR Active Dry Yeast

Large Loaf (2 lb. bread machine)

¾ cup, plus 2 Tbsp warm tap water

1¼ cups Sourdough Starter (see link in instructions for starter recipe)

4 cups bread flour

2½ tsp salt

1 Tbsp plus 1 tsp sugar

1 Tbsp RED STAR Active Dry Yeast

Cornmeal (for dusting on baking sheet)

Instructions

Get starter recipe here >> Sourdough Starter recipe

Bread Machine Method

Have water at 80ºF and all other ingredients at room temperature. Place ingredients in pan in the order specified in your owner’s manual. Select basic cycle and medium/normal crust. Do not use delay timer. Check dough consistency after 5 minutes of kneading. The dough should be in a soft, tacky ball. If it is dry and stiff, add water, ½ to 1 tablespoon at a time. If it is too wet and sticky, add 1 tablespoon of flour at a time. Remove bread when cycle is finished; cool. See our Bread Machine section for more helpful tips and information.

Mixer Methods

Hand-Held Mixer Method: Using ingredient amounts listed for medium loaf, combine yeast, 1 cup flour, and other dry ingredients in mixing bowl. Add sourdough starter and water and mix on low speed. Beat 2 to 3 minutes on medium speed. Using a wooden spoon or dough whisk, stir in enough remaining flour to make a firm dough. Knead on floured surface 5 to 7 minutes or until smooth and elastic. Use additional flour if necessary.

Stand Mixer Method: Using ingredient amounts listed for medium loaf, combine yeast, 1 cup flour, and other dry ingredients in mixer bowl. Add sourdough starter and water/ mix with paddle or beaters for 4 minutes on medium speed. Gradually add remaining flour and knead with dough hook(s) 5 to 7 minutes until smooth and elastic. Use additional flour if necessary.

Food Processor Method: Using ingredient amounts listed for medium loaf, combine yeast, 1 cup flour, and other dry ingredients in food processor bowl with steel blade. Add sourdough starter. While motor is running, add water. Process until mixed. Continue processing, adding enough of the remaining flour until dough forms a ball.

Rising, Shaping, and Baking

Place dough in lightly oiled bowl and turn to grease top. Cover; let rise until dough tests ripe. Turn dough onto lightly floured surface; punch down to remove air bubbles. Roll or pat into a 12 x 5-inch rectangle. Starting with shorter side, roll up tightly, pressing dough into roll. Pinch edges and taper ends to seal. Place on baking sheet that is lined with parchment paper or silicone mat; sprinkle with cornmeal. Cover; let rise until indentation remains after touching. With very sharp knife, make 2 or 3 diagonal slashes across top of loaf. Spray or brush loaf with cold water. Bake in preheated 400º F oven 30 to 35 minutes. For a crisper crust, spray or brush loaf with cold water several times during the first 12 minutes of baking. Remove from cookie sheet; cool.

*You can substitute Instant (fast-rising) yeast in place of Active Dry Yeast. When using Instant Yeast, expect your dough to rise faster. Always let your dough rise until ripe. Traditional methods: use equal amounts; Bread Machine: use ½ tsp Instant Yeast OR ¾ tsp Active Dry Yeast per cup of flour in your recipe. Visit our Lessons in Yeast & Baking for more information on baking.

Recipe featured at http://www.mykitchenaddiction.com/2012/01/san-francisco-sourdough-bread/.  For more recipes visit https://redstaryeast.com/recipes/