April 01, 2019
Some historians believe the April Fools' customs began in France, although no one knows for sure.
It may stem from a calendar change in 16th century France -- the moving of New Year's Day from April 1 to January 1 when the Gregorian calendar was adopted.
People who continued to celebrate New Year's Day on April 1st rather than the new date of January 1st were referred to as "April fools" and others played tricks on them.
Not everyone buys the calendar theory, though. Others say that the occasion evolved from festivals of spring renewal when people hid their identities.
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Today's Random Fact:
In France, kids tape paper fish to their friends' backs. As a result, April 1 in France is known as "Poisson d'Avril," which translates to "April fish."
In one famous prank from 1957, the BBC broadcast a film in their Panorama current affairs series purporting to show Swiss farmers picking freshly-grown spaghetti, in what they called the Swiss Spaghetti Harvest.
The BBC were later flooded with requests to purchase a spaghetti plant, forcing them to declare the film a hoax on the news the next day.
Taco Bell announced on April 1, 1996, that it was purchasing the Liberty Bell to help with the national debt and would rename it the Taco Liberty Bell.
For April Fools Day in 1998, Burger King took out a full-page ad in the USA, introducing a Whopper designed especially for lefties. The new burger would contain the same ingredients as the original but rotated 180 degrees. Thousands of customers swarmed BK restaurants requesting the 'lefty' Whopper.
On April Fools Day, 1976, the BBC convinced many listeners that a special alignment of the planets would temporarily decrease gravity on Earth. Phone lines were flooded with callers who claimed they felt the effects.