Washing The Lions
During the 18th and 19th centuries a popular prank in London involved inviting unsuspecting victims to come view the annual ceremony of washing the lions at the Tower of London. Early versions of the prank promised the curious that the lions were going to be washed in the moat. Later versions told the gullible to seek entrance to the Tower at the “White Gate” (there being no such gate). Whatever the details were, the hopeful sightseers would make the journey to the Tower in vain, because there was no annual lion-washing ceremony. . . .
This prank is best known as an April Fool’s Day joke. In fact, a report of it being perpetrated in 1698 is the earliest recorded example of an April Fool’s Day prank. The April 2, 1698 edition of Dawks’s News-Letter reported that “Yesterday being the first of April, several persons were sent to the Tower Ditch to see the Lions washed” (Notes and Queries, 1913, 357). . . .
The washing-the-lions prank falls into the broad category of “sleeveless errand” pranks—more commonly referred to today as “wild-goose chases.” A sleeveless errand involves sending a victim on a fruitless quest in search of an item, or event, that does not exist.
Source: “Washing The Lions” – Hoaxipedia
Saint Stupid’s Day Parade
The Saint Stupid’s Day Parade is an annual parade in San Francisco on April 1. It was founded by Ed Holmes in the late 1970s. If April 1 falls on a weekday, the parade starts at the foot of Market Street and follows a route through the financial district. If April 1 falls on a weekend, the parade starts at the Transamerica Pyramid, proceeds up Columbus Street and ends at Washington Square. The parade begins at noon.