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History of April Fools Day

April Fools Day originated in France (what better place?) when, in 1582, the Gregorian Calendar replaced the Julian Calendar and New Year's day changed from April 1 to January 1. Word of the change traveled slowly and those who were unaware of the change were labeled 'Poisson d'Avril', French for 'April Fish' (because a young, naive fish could easily be caught).

Today 'Poisson d'Avril' is an expensive French perfume; however, the tradition of playing jokes on the unaware lives on.

Recent April Fools Day pranks include the 1996 purchase of the Liberty Bell from fast-food giant Taco Bell, renaming it the 'Taco Liberty Bell'. In 1980, the BBC announced that Big Ben was going to be furnished with a digital readout. In 1992, National Public Radio announced that former President Richard Nixon was running for office once again. And in 1998, Burger King introduced the 'Left-handed Whopper', where the condiments were rotated 180 degrees to benefit left-handed consumers. Thousands of customers fell for the gag; some customers ordered 'Right-handed Whoppers'.

Mark Twain put it best when he said, "The first day of April is the day we remember what we are the other 364 days of the year."

April Fool's Celebrated April 1