The Origin of April Fools Day


Ethan Nguyen and Leah Forman

April Fools Day is celebrated on April 1st every year. April Fools consists of funny pranks, jokes, and hoaxes. People see it as an annoying thing, or a day where they can expose their jokes and pranks to their friends and family. But how did April Fools start?

Origin of April Fools

April Fools Day started around the year 1582 in France, when they switched from the Julian calendar to the Gregorian calendar. In the Julian Calendar, as in the Hindu calendar, the new year began with the Spring equinox around April 1. People who were slow to get the news or failed to recognize that the start of the new year had moved to January 1 and continued to celebrate it during the last week of March through April 1 became the butt of jokes and hoaxes and were called “April fools.” These pranks included having paper fish placed on their backs and being referred to as “poisson d’avril” (April fish), said to symbolize a young, easily caught fish and a gullible person. This is how April Fools started.

Big April Fools pranks that occurred

Modern day April Fools Day has been popping up on newspapers, radio stations, websites, social media, etc. that report outrageous fictional events that fool other people. From simple pranks and jokes to big astronomical pranks that fool almost the entire world.

In 1996, Taco Bell, the fast-food restaurant chain, duped people when it announced it had agreed to purchase Philadelphia’s Liberty Bell and intended to rename it the Taco Liberty Bell. In 1998, after Burger King advertised a “Left-Handed Whopper,” scores of clueless customers requested the fake sandwich. 

Another big prank was from the technology company Google. Google notoriously hosts an annual April Fools’ Day prank that has included everything from “telepathic search” to the ability to play Pac Man on Google Maps. 

In 1980, pranksters at the BBC announced that Big Ben, London’s historic clock tower, would undergo a face-lift and become digital to keep up with the times. Enraged callers flooded the station with complaints.

In 2009, BMW ran an ad promoting its new “magnetic tow technology.” The invention enabled drivers to turn off their engine and get a “free ride” by locking onto the car ahead via a magnetic beam.

In 1957 the news show Panorama reported that, thanks to a mild winter, Swiss farmers enjoyed a bumper spaghetti crop. To prove this point, it broadcast a three-minute report of Swiss farmers carefully “harvesting” strands of spaghetti from trees. People were very surprised and many called the BBC wanting to know how they could grow their very own spaghetti tree. The BBC advised each caller: “Place a sprig of spaghetti in a tin of tomato sauce and hope for the best.”

Most Common Pranks

Here are some of the most common April Fools Day pranks ever.

  1. Prank phone calls 
  2. Lying pranks
  3. Mind game pranks
  4. Scaring someone
  5. Filling food with disgusting things
  6. Making prank videos or social media posts


April Fools Day is a fun day where you can pull off pranks to your friends and family. From a spaghetti tree prank to pranks that fooled people to big worldwide companies that prank possibly millions of people throughout the world. April Fools Day has evolved so much that it is known everywhere by everyone!