The best April Fools' Day pranks from around the world
From simple pranks such as pasting a “Kick Me” sign on someone’s back to more elaborate hoaxes, April 1 is a day where it’s acceptable to play a practical joke on your family, neighbours, colleagues, friends and enemies. What are you waiting for?
April Fools' Timeline
1508 Poet Eloy d’Amerval refers to poisson d’Avril (April fish), the French term for April fools.
1539 Flemish writer Eduard de Dene publishes a comic poem about a nobleman who sends his servants on “foolish” errands on April 1.
1686 First British mention of “Fooles holy day”, which is observed on April 1.
1698 One of the earliest of April Fool stunts: people were invited to go to the Tower of London to see the “annual ceremony of washing the lions”.
1789 An English newspaper claims that April Fools’ day had its origins when Noah dispatched a raven from the Ark too early.
1919 Residents of horse-free Venice wake on April 1 to find their famed Piazza San Marco dotted with piles of horse manure.
1992 US National Public Radio announces that disgraced former president Richard Nixon is to run again with the slogan, “I didn’t do anything wrong, and I won’t do it again.”
1993 A German radio station reports Cologne officials have outlawed joggers running faster than 9.6km/h so as not to disturb mating squirrels.
2002 UK supermarket chain Tesco advertises genetically modified “whistling carrots”. Tapered air holes in their sides cause them to whistle when cooked.
2009 A British newspaper, the Guardian, announces it will only publish stories less than 140 characters long, via Twitter. Here’s how it said it would have covered the invasion of Poland in 1939: “OMG Hitler invades Poland, allies declare war see tinyurl.com/b5x6e for more”.
Although not all April Fools’ experts agree (yes, they exist), some argue the day originated in 16th century France, when Pope Gregory XIII mandated that the new year began on January 1, instead of the end of March.
Those who failed to follow the new calendar were dubbed “April fish”.
Others claim it originated from ancient spring festivals that included mischief-making.