No one knows quite how today's holiday got its start, but it may have its roots in the resistance of French "fools" to the Gregorian calendar, which shifted New Year's from April 1 to Jan. 1. Of course, that explanation could be a hoax, notes the Huffington Post, which runs down the best April Fools' pranks:
- After the BBC reported on the anticipated Swiss spaghetti crop in 1957, viewers phoned in for instructions on how to grow their own pasta trees.
- Six major newspapers ran a 1996 ad announcing that Taco Bell was doing its part to ease the country's debt by purchasing the Liberty Bell, to be renamed the Taco Liberty Bell.
- In 1993, the AP, CNN, and Rush Limbaugh reported on "Arm the Homeless", a group dedicated to providing firearms to the underprivileged of Columbus, Ohio.
- NPR's 1992 report that Richard Nixon was running for a second presidential term with the slogan "I didn't do anything wrong, and I won't do it again" prompted plenty of listeners to call in.
- The Madison Capital-Times in 1933 broke news of the collapse of Wisconsin's Capitol due to "large quantities of gas, generated through many weeks of verbose debate in the Senate and Assembly chambers."